Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said the neck injury that caused running back Chris Carson to miss Thursday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams is a longstanding issue.
Carroll, who described Carson's status as "day-to-day," told reporters Friday the team's leading rusher wasn't injured on a specific play:
"He's got an old injury that you can see [in medical exams]. It's kind of, I don't know if it's chronic, but it occasionally pops up. It hasn't been an issue in the past. He didn't get hit and that's how he got hurt. It's a condition he's got probably from weightlifting and all of the stuff he's done over the years. It could have been something a long time ago. It's just flared up some, so we're being real careful with him. He was too uncomfortable to play."
It's unclear whether Carson will be available for the Hawks' Week 6 road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 17.
Alex Collins took over as Seattle's lead back against the Rams. He tallied 15 carries for 47 yards (3.1 YPC) along with two catches for 25 yards. DeeJay Dallas (four carries) and Travis Homer (one) also got some opportunities in the team's backfield.
Carroll said the team would probably continue to fill the void from within if Carson remains sidelined for awhile.
Along with Collins, Dallas and Homer, the Seahawks can activate Rashaad Penny from injured reserve after Week 6 and could also promote rookie Josh Johnson from the practice squad in a pinch.
"We'll look forward to getting Rashaad back," Carroll said. "He'll be back in a couple weeks. That'll be a big boost to us when we get him. The guys are doing what they can. I thought DeeJay did a nice job [Thursday] night coming off the bench, and Alex has been doing a solid job now at the one spot."
Carson has been one of the NFL's best running backs when healthy, highlighted by back-to-back seasons over 1,100 yards rushing in 2018 and 2019, but injuries have been a factor throughout his career, which began as a seventh-round pick in 2017.
Counting Thursday, the 27-year-old Oklahoma State product has missed 20 of a possible 69 regular-season games for the Seahawks.
The uncertainty about Carson's short-term availability paired with the finger injury suffered by quarterback Russell Wilson on Thursday, which ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported will sideline the signal-caller for four-to-eight weeks, creates major question marks for the Seattle offense.
Backup quarterback Geno Smith is expected to take over the unit beginning against the Steelers.