Ankle injury likely to keep 'Hawks LT Okung off field vs. Giants

RENTON, Wash. -- Making his first NFL start, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst had better be acutely aware of what's happening behind him come Sunday.

The Seahawks will start a completely new left side of the offensive line against the sack-happy New York Giants.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that rookie left tackle Russell Okung is "as doubtful as you can get" as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain sustained two weeks ago. Seattle also lost left guard Ben Hamilton for the season to a concussion last week.

That leaves the Seahawks having to move guard Chester Pitts to left tackle -- a position he hasn't started at since the 2005 season. Mike Gibson will start at left guard, while Tyler Polumbus, who started Seattle's first three games at left tackle, is questionable because of a knee injury.

Carroll said Polumbus would only play in a backup role, while Pitts missed practice Friday to attend a funeral.

"Russell is as doubtful as you can get, but you never know," Carroll said. "Tyler worked out here today and got some work done. So we'll have to figure it out, that'll be a game-time decision for us to see how (Polumbus) responds all the way to Sunday."

Because of injuries, Seattle could be down five starters between the offensive and defensive lines. The Seahawks are without defensive end Red Bryant, placed on injured reserve this week, and defensive tackle Colin Cole. Fellow tackle Brandon Mebane is questionable because of a lingering calf injury that has cost him the last three games.

About the only positive in Seattle's injury news was wide receiver Mike Williams' return to practice Friday. Williams has been bothered by a bruise just above his knee that limits his range of motion and doesn't allow him to completely bend his knee.

Williams knows there is some unknown with Whitehurst about to make his first start -- and throw his first pass in a regular-season game. But getting some time in practice Friday helped him adjust to some of the differences from Seattle starter Matt Hasselbeck, who's out this week with a concussion.

"To get out there today and get adjusted to his speed, it's different," Williams said about Whitehurst. "He's throwing the ball a little different. It's coming out faster, a lot more zip, almost will knock you over. ... We're excited for him, as an offense, I think as a team."

Williams had just one catch last week against Oakland, after catching 21 passes for more than 200 yards in the previous two games combined. He also dropped a potential touchdown midway through the third quarter that could have cut the Raiders' lead to 13-7.

"I couldn't imagine having to wait another week to get out there and get back on track," Williams said.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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