Carroll told 710 Seattle Sports on Monday that he thinks Smith will be able to play on the short week despite being knocked out of several drives during Sunday's road loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The coach noted that Smith returning from a right elbow injury for the final drive spearheads the optimism this week.
"I would think so," Carroll responded when asked if Smith would play in a huge matchup against the 49ers, per The Seattle Times.
Carroll added that Smith got hit on the tendon on the bottom of his triceps/elbow, suffering a contusion, but at this point, the QB appears to have avoided further damage. The Seahawks will have to manage the swelling in the coming days for Smith to play on Thursday night.
"There's no structural issue there, but he's got a sore elbow," Carroll said later Monday in his media availability.
Smith got crushed by Aaron Donald late in the third quarter in L.A., injuring his elbow. The starter was seen on the sidelines trying to get loose and, at times, wearing a wrap on the arm.
After backup Drew Lock led three fruitless drives, including a fourth-quarter pick that helped allow the Rams to turn a nine-point deficit into a one-point lead, Smith returned to the game for the final possession. The QB's arm didn't look affected on the final drive, zipping his first pass to Tyler Lockett and later finding DK Metcalf for a 21-yarder to set up a potential game-winning field goal that Jason Myers pushed wide right.
Sunday's loss was a big blow for the Seahawks, who fell a game behind San Francisco in the NFC West. Seattle enters the gauntlet stretch of their schedule, facing the Niners on Thursday, Dallas, San Francisco again, and the Eagles over the next four games.
If the Seahawks are to remain in the division hunt during that stretch, having Smith on the field will be vital.