Hodgson's defensive crisis deepened when Gary Cahill was forced to pull out of the squad through injury, following the withdrawals of Michael Dawson, Phil Jagielka and Rio Ferdinand.
Chris Smalling is in line to start at the Serravalle Stadium on Friday and could be partnered by Joleon Lescott but Hodgson is mindful of Tuesday's clash with group leaders Montenegro.
Lescott was booked in September's fixture against the Ukraine and another caution against San Marino would rule him out of what could prove a pivotal game in Podgorica.
Hodgson floated the idea of Carrick deputising in defence, as he has done for Manchester United on several occasions, before October's 5-0 win over Friday's opponents.
Newcastle's Steven Taylor has been drafted into the the squad but is uncapped, while Tottenham's Steven Caulker has so far made just one senior appearance, in November's 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden.
England can reclaim top spot in Group H if they win both matches.