(Reuters) - The Seattle Seahawks face an anxious wait to find out how well two key components of their outstanding defense recover from injuries ahead of their Super Bowl clash with the New England Patriots.
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman suffered a sprained elbow in the fourth quarter of Sunday's comeback win over the visiting Green Bay Packers while All-Pro safety Earl Thomas dislocated his shoulder in the first half.
Both players finished the game despite clear discomfort as Seattle won the NFC championship in overtime but while the team has expressed confidence they will play in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, it remains to be seen what impact the injuries could have.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was asked on Monday how his defense could cope with the absence of two vital elements and gave a short reply: "I'm OK about that but I'm not going there."
Carroll said the players would undergo more tests this week.
Both players have insisted that they will be ready for the Super Bowl clash against the New England Patriots, and having battled through pain against the Packers there is no doubt they will be determined to be on the field.
Thomas returned to the game wearing a shoulder harness while Sherman, who was in visible pain, refused to leave the game.
"Both those guys were in dire straits," said Carroll, "And they didn't flinch, not for a second, when they played, they played their hearts out.
"Their courage and their toughness in standing up for who they are and what they mean to this team couldn’t have been more evident, in their willingness to throw their body out there again and finish this game."
Four-time Pro Bowl selection Thomas was the fifth-ranked free safety in the 2014 regular season with 71 tackles and he forced three fumbles.
Sherman, selected to the Pro Bowl for the past two seasons, ranked seventh in the NFL Network's Top 100 players poll.
Carroll suggested that right tackle Justin Britt and backup safety Jeron Johnson, who both sat out Sunday's game with injury, are expected to recover in time for the Super Bowl.
Britt had a knee injury while Johnson was out with a dislocated elbow.
(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; Editing by Frank Pingue)