The Indianapolis Colts received some positive news on Tuesday, as the NFL updated its COVID-19 protocol to align with CDC guidelines, as expected.
This means the Colts could be getting several key players recently placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list back earlier than initially anticipated—perhaps even in time for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders:
A break for Colts’ QB Carson Wentz, who is unvaccinated and tested positive today. https://t.co/2Blb2l5UiY— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 28, 2021
The NFL informed clubs that unvaccinated players who tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days -- including #Colts QB Carson Wentz and LB Darius Leonard and #Chargers WR Mike Williams -- are now eligible to play Sunday provided symptoms have improved, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 28, 2021
It’s big news for the Colts because not only is starting quarterback Carson Wentz now on the COVID-19/Reserve List, but so are at least 7 other starters (13 total players)—including a pair of 3x NFL All-Pros: Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson, three starting offensive linemen, and two starting defensive backs collectively.
The Colts could potentially get them all back—should each player’s symptoms lessen enough by Sunday respectively (and for a distinction here, not necessarily be asymptomatic to clear the protocol):
Under the new NFL protocols, every Colt currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list has a chance to come off of it before Sunday, I believe.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) December 28, 2021
Based on the memo, it does not appear that a player has to be asymptomatic.— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) December 28, 2021
Player has to be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication, and other symptoms only have to be resolving.
For a Colts team looking to clinch an AFC playoff berth with a win at home against the Las Vegas Raiders (8-7), from a football perspective, this is clearly encouraging news.
Otherwise, it may have been rookie Sam Ehlinger throwing behind a preseason caliber backup offensive line in name recognition, along with a depleted secondary on the other side of the football—with so much still on the line for Indianapolis late in this season.