RENTON, Wash. -- If all goes well for Russell Wilson over the next five days, the Seattle Seahawks' star quarterback will be back in the starting lineup for Sunday's road game against the Green Bay Packers.
But Wilson merely returning to practice Monday -- exactly one month after finger surgery -- was an accomplishment that coach Pete Carroll hailed as "enormous" and "miraculous."
"This is a remarkable story of recovery and really of a guy intent that he was going to do this and pull it off," Carroll said. "He's way, way ahead of schedule and we just came off the practice field and he threw the ball all over the place. He did really well for the first time out in a limited amount of plays. ... We knew that Russ was going to go for it. We didn't know if his body could respond, but it did."
When asked if he's operating under the assumption that Wilson will play Sunday, Carroll gave a one-day-at-a-time response indicating that it's likely but not certain. Carroll said it will depend on how Wilson responds to each day of work. He noted that Wilson has thrown more in recent days than he did Monday, which suggests he should continue to feel OK as the week progresses.
"He's not out here to do anything but play," Carroll said. "He's not coming back just to practice, so we'll see what happens as the week goes on. Give us days to figure that out. But the intention is that if he's OK, he plays."
Wilson was cleared for a return by Dr. Steve Shin, who operated on the quarterback's right middle finger on Oct. 8. The surgery was to repair a tendon rupture (mallet finger) and a fracture-dislocation that Wilson had suffered the night before, when he banged his throwing hand against Aaron Donald on a follow-through in the third quarter of the Seahawks' loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Wilson had a pin inserted into the finger that was removed last Monday.
"I am absolutely amazed at his progress, so much so that I can now confidently clear him for full return to play without reservation," Shin said of Wilson in a statement.
When asked if he doesn't expect Wilson to be at all hampered by the surgery or the effects of having a pin in his finger, Carroll said: "Yeah, but we're going to take in the information that we get through the week." Carroll added that Wilson has done "a ton" of work in the past week and that he felt fine Monday.
The Seahawks (3-5) held a 45-minute practice as they returned from last week's bye. During the period that was open to reporters, Wilson was seen warming up and throwing without a glove or any visible wrapping on his right hand. Carroll said Wilson was fine sans glove but left open the possibility that he could try one in practice later in the week.
Wilson's finger injury landed him on injured reserve for the first time and snapped his streak of 149 consecutive starts to begin his career. The Seahawks went 1-2 in the three games Geno Smith started in Wilson's absence, snapping their three-game losing streak with a resounding win over the Jacksonville Jaguars before last week's bye.
On Monday, Wilson tweeted out, "It's Time," along with video montage of his recovery.
The Seahawks will have to activate Wilson off IR by Saturday for him to play Sunday. Over Wilson's career, they are 4-0 at home versus the Packers in Seattle and 0-4 at Lambeau Field, including playoffs.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler and Adam Schefter initially reported that Wilson could return as soon as four weeks after his surgery. Carroll declined to publicly give any timetable during Wilson's recovery but said Monday that knowing Wilson, his thought all along was that if the quarterback could "pull off something miraculous," this was the week he'd play.
"This is really a cool story," Carroll said. "I'm amazed but yet not surprised, kind of, and I'm really fired up about it. I'm really anxious to see how this goes."
In addition to Wilson, the Seahawks also designated rookie receiver Dee Eskridge and cornerback Nigel Warrior for a return on Monday. Eskridge, Seattle's second-round draft pick, hasn't played since suffering a concussion in the opener. Carroll said he looked good in practice but that it's too soon to know if he'll play Sunday.
Running back Chris Carson is expected return to practice Wednesday, according to Carroll. He has missed the past four games with a neck injury.
Carroll acknowledged the Seahawks have done their homework on Odell Beckham Jr. but declined to say whether they're putting in a waiver claim on the recently waived receiver, saying, "You'll have to wait and see how this all goes."
"He's a really good football player," Carroll said. "He's as talented as you could be in years past. So you're always looking for guys who can do special stuff. Forever I've shared with you guys that we're looking for uniqueness and people that are different than other people and give you different dimensions to their play. So that's what we're trying to figure out and investigate and see if there's a chance and all that kind of stuff, if it makes sense."