Some offseason reports had Seattle Seahawks guard James Carpenter, the team's first-round pick in 2011, missing the entire 2012 season with a severe knee injury he suffered during a pass-rush drill in practice last season.
Carpenter opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list, where he remains, but head coach Pete Carrollexpects him to play this season, Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times reports.
"He has busted his tail to get back, and we're really, really excited," Carroll said on Wednesday. "He's definitely going to play this year. He's definitely going to play. We didn't know that as he went into even July. We weren't sure. But we know that now he's going to play once he's going to get back in and gets his weeks in."
Where Carpenter will play is just as uncertain as when he'll play. Carpenter started the 2011 regular-season opener at left guard for an injured Robert Gallery before moving to the right tackle spot he was drafted to play. When Carpenter went down last season, Breno Giacomini stepped up and seized the right tackle job. Paul McQuistan replaced Gallery at left guard last season and both he and Giacomini were signed to short-term contract extensions in the offseason.
There is some uncertainty at right guard, where seventh-round project J.R. Sweezy is running with the first team while John Moffitt rehabs from minor elbow surgery. If Moffitt has a setback, or Sweezy's struggles are too much for line coach Tom Cable to put up with, McQuistan could move over there if and when Carpenter is ready to play.
The Seahawks will most likely move Carpenter to the "Reserve/PUP" list to give him additional time to get ready, but Carroll wouldn't rule out carrying him on the active roster at the start of the season.
"He's not far away from looking like he could practice and play for us," Carroll said. "But it's still, it's a crucial time here and we're going to have to make a big decision on how we do this."