Penny and Taylor have each missed the first 10 weeks of the season while recovering from surgeries. Penny sustained a torn ACL and additional damage to his knee in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams early last December. Taylor had surgery to address stress fractures in his leg that affected him during his final season at the University of Tennessee.
Penny has been on the physically unable to perform list while Taylor is on the non-football injury list.
“We’re getting to the verge of those guys coming back now,” Carroll said. “Both guys are running hard, they’re working hard, they’re wearing out the trainers. They just have to kind of close in on it right now, close in on being absolutely ready to do football movements and football reactions and things like that. We’ll see here how it goes.”
Penny hasn’t been able to help the team as they’ve dealt with depth issues at running back over the last several weeks. Chris Carson could miss a fourth straight game on Thursday night due to a mid-foot sprain while Carlos Hyde is set to return to the lineup after missing the last three games himself. Travis Homer is also currently dealing with a hand injury that has him doubtful to play Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Taylor hasn’t been available to help a pass rush that struggled mightily throughout the first half of the season. He had hiccups in his rehabilitation that have kept him from being able to return to action sooner.
Carroll said the pair could return to the practice field potentially as soon as next week. They would have a 21-day period to practice with the team before having to be added to the active roster.
“It’s really week-to-week as we evaluate it,” Carroll said. “These guys are ready to go and we’re a week away or two weeks away probably from something happening here with these guys. Would love to see those guys come back and be a part of next week even possibly. We’ll have to wait and see what happens and we’re really going to do a nice job of making sure we don’t rush it. I know it’s been quite a while but now that we’re down to it we’ve got to make really good choice and decisions as we finish (the rehab) off.”
Penny, a former first-round pick, had been starting to show solid form for Seattle prior to his injury last year. He had 29 carries for 203 yards with two rushing touchdowns and four catches for 33 yards and a touchdown in games against Philadelphia and Minnesota right before his injury.
Taylor, the 48th overall pick in this spring’s NFL Draft, had 16.5 sacks for Tennessee over his final two seasons in college.