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Pete Carroll insists looming playoff game won’t impact how Seahawks prepare for Cardinals

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Guard J.R. Sweezy was ruled out for Sunday but Carroll says other players listed as questionable will play if they are healthy enough.

Starting left guard J.R. Sweezy won’t play Sunday when the Seahawks close out the regular season against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday due to a foot/ankle injury suffered last week against the Chiefs.

Seattle also listed five other players as questionable, including starting right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring), running back Rashaad Penny (knee) and free safety Tedric Thompson (ankle). Seattle coach Pete Carroll said will all be re-evaluated following workouts before the game Sunday.

“We’ll have an Olympics going on out there on the field if you want to come out early,’’ Carroll said to reporters following Friday’s practice.

Carroll, though, insisted that any decisions on whether players will play will be made solely on whether the player in question is healthy enough to go.

What won’t be a factor, he said, is that Seattle could have a playoff game as early as next Saturday and definitely will have one by next Sunday, at likely either Dallas or Chicago in the wild-card round.

“It has nothing to do with it,’’ Carroll said of the prospect of the playoffs on the horizon on how the team will make personnel decisions for Sunday’s game against Arizona.

Instead, he said the team’s goal and approach for the Arizona game is the same as any other — to get the win — even if Seattle already has a playoff bid locked up.

Carroll said the main reason for that is to reinforce his overarching philosophies designed at getting the Seahawks to play at their best every week.

“I particularly think that it’s part of the discipline of performance that you don’t allow yourself to say that this game isn’t as important as some other game,’’ Carroll said.

Also, there are some tangible stakes on the line, such as a 10-win season, snapping a pesky three-game losing streak to Arizona in Seattle, and, most notably, assuring that Seattle gets the No. 5 seed.

Seattle will be either the five or the six and is assured of the five if Minnesota loses to Chicago regardless of what the Seahawks do.

But Seattle won’t know that outcome since the games begin at the same time. A Vikings win and Seattle loss and the Seahawks will be the sixth seed.

Not that there’s a great chance for a five seed to host a playoff game — the only way it would be possible would be to host the six seed in the conference title game, something that has never happened — but you never know.

Maybe more to the point, being the five seed sets up a likely chance to play the Rams in the divisional round of the playoffs if the Seahawks were to win the wild-card game as opposed to being assured of having to go to New Orleans.

Seattle might like a shot at playing the Rams a third time after losing two down-to-the-wire games against Los Angeles in the regular season and might also perceive the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a more inviting venue than the Superdome.

So, there’s not necessarily nothing on the line.

Carroll, though, said all he’s really thinking about is winning a game on Sunday for the sake of winning a game on Sunday — the same as any other Sunday in any other season.

“It’s so fleeting and it goes away in a heartbeat,’’ Carroll said. “And normal teams go up and down all the time and that’s not the way we want to do it. We want to be uncommon. Uncommonly committed to the discipline of this.’’

Sweezy has unusual foot injury, and other updates

Carroll said Sweezy has been receiving diagnosis throughout the country this week on what he called an “unusual little thing’’ he is dealing with in his foot.

“It’s real uncomfortable,’’ Carroll said. “He’s got some swelling that he’s dealing with.’’

But Carroll said that while Sweezy won’t play Sunday, the playoffs are not a question.

“It’s probably a three-to-four week recovery for most people and he’s going to do it in two weeks,’’ Carroll said. “So he’ll be ready next week.’’

As for this week, expect Ethan Pocic to again start in place of Sweezy at left guard.

Pocic started at left guard the first two games of the season, then after moving to a reserve role started at right guard last week for D.J. Fluker, then moved to left guard when Sweezy was hurt in the second quarter with Fluker entering the game and finishing out at right guard.

Fluker, who missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury, is questionable for the game but Carroll said there is a chance he will play.

“He made real progress this week and he did some things that helped him, so we are looking forward to him being ready to go if he can make it through the Sunday workout,’’ Carroll said.

If Fluker can’t play, options include going with Joey Hunt, or possibly making a roster move and activating Jordan Roos off the practice squad.

Right tackle Germain Ifedi, who was out last week with a groin injury, was not listed on the final injury report and will return this week. He was replaced last week by George Fant, who will return to his sixth offensive lineman/eligible tackle role.

Tedric Thompson dealing with ankle injury

Thompson sat out the Chiefs game with a chest issue that has since cleared up.

Now he is dealing with an ankle injury and will also have to pass a pregame workout to get the OK to play.

“He’s got an irritation in the back of his ankle, kind of around his Achilles,’’ Carroll said. “It’s not an Achilles injury like we thought it was for a little but he just hasn’t quite made it through it to our satisfaction yet. But we are going to try and take a look at him on Sunday.’’

Carroll, though, intimated that safety Bradley McDougald — who sat much of the week to rest his knee — will be able to play Sunday.

“He practiced today,’’ Carroll said. “Did fine.’’

So that would likely mean Seattle again going with McDougald and Delano Hill as its safeties if Thompson can’t go.

Rashaad Penny could be on track to return

First-round pick Rashaad Penny has missed the last two games to deal with a knee injury.

But Carroll said he should return against the Cardinals as long as he also passes a pregame workout.

Penny could get a lot of work if the team decides to take a few snaps away from starter Chris Carson, who has had 71 carries over the last three games.

While Carroll has insisted the team will play the Arizona game the same as any other, he has allowed that how the game goes could mean getting some players out early if the chance arises.

And that could be particularly true with Carson and with the tailback spot.

Seattle signed Bo Scarbrough to add depth at tailback two weeks ago and he could also potentially be active Sunday and get some carries. J.D. McKissic could also see extensive time.

Doug Baldwin ‘ready to go’ despite new shoulder injury

Doug Baldwin sat out practice on Wednesday to rest a sore shoulder, just the latest in a litany of aches and pains for the veteran receiver.

But Baldwin was able to do increasing work as the week progressed and Carroll said he’ll be ready for Sunday — Baldwin was not given a designation on the final injury report, meaning the team expects him to play.

“He did fine,’’ Carroll said. “He made it through the week. He continues to carry stuff that has happened to him during the season but he’s been just a rock. He’s ready to go.’’

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll looks ahead to Sunday’s game against Arizona.

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