The Chargers said they were conducting contact tracing and consulting with the NFL following a player’s positive test result. The team placed guard Ryan Groy on its covid-19 reserve list later Thursday.
Los Angeles is scheduled to play Sunday at Denver.
The NFL is coming off two straight weekends of only minor tinkering to its schedule after two weeks of widespread rescheduling of games. The league recently has managed to play games even when teams experienced coronavirus issues, using a change to the NFL protocols requiring a five-day isolation of anyone classified as a high-risk close contact to an individual who tested positive.
That modification created roster and competitive complications for teams with players being unavailable to play but seems to have aided the NFL in preventing larger outbreaks and getting games played mostly on schedule. League officials have said they will consider adding an 18th week to the regular season only if all games cannot be played in the 17-week framework.
The Giants confirmed in a written statement Thursday that a player tested positive for the coronavirus. The team said it learned late Wednesday night of the positive test result. The player self-isolated and the contact-tracing process was initiated, according to the Giants’ statement.
“All of the player’s close contacts were identified and were informed to remain home today,” the Giants said in their statement. “Those individuals will participate in meetings remotely. We are working closely with the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps.”
The Giants said their training facility was open Thursday and the rest of the team would follow a normal schedule for meetings and practice.
The team planned to place guard Will Hernandez on its covid-19 reserve list, a person familiar with the situation confirmed. That list is for players who test positive for the coronavirus or are determined through contact tracing to have been exposed to the virus. Hernandez reportedly tested positive.
The Giants sent home seven of the 11 offensive linemen on their roster and a practice squad player at another position. They also sent home two assistant coaches, defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson and outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema.
The NFL follows a two-step contact-tracing process after a positive test. Those found to have been in contact are told initially to stay away from the team facility as a precaution. Anyone officially deemed later in the process to have been a high-risk close contact faces a mandatory five-day isolation period. Those not considered high-risk close contacts are allowed to return to full team activities sooner, without the five-day quarantine. That apparently will be the case with the Giants.
“We’ve been fortunate in that there’s really no high-risk guys within the tracer contacts,” Giants Coach Joe Judge said in a video news conference. “We have some precautions we have to take as a team. We’re optimistic to get all these guys back. So we’re operating that we’re going to have them back right now.”
Judge said he expected the Giants to play Monday as scheduled.
Last week, the Las Vegas Raiders practiced without their entire starting offensive line after right tackle Trent Brown reportedly tested positive. The four other starters on the offensive line were classified as high-risk close contacts and were isolated for five days. But those five-day quarantines ran through Saturday, and they played in Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers in Las Vegas. Brown and safety Johnathan Abram, who was classified as a high-risk close contact and had a five-day isolation that ran through Sunday, did not play.
The Chargers said Thursday that they were notified late Wednesday night of the positive test result by one of their players. The player went into isolation and close contacts were identified and told to stay home Thursday, the team said, adding that it kept its facility open but all meetings would be conducted virtually. Coach Anthony Lynn said later he sent the remaining Chargers players home and canceled Thursday’s practice as a precaution.
“As of right now, we feel like we have it contained. … I just want to make sure that we keep it contained and give the players a little more peace of mind,” Lynn said in a video news conference.
Lynn said he was not aware of any consideration being given to postponing Sunday’s game.
“We talked about it: 2020, there’s nothing like it,” Lynn said. “We knew we would have to adjust and adapt, and that’s kind of what we’re doing today. … I sent the guys home to protect the team. I don’t want to take any chances here.”