No new positive results were returned in the latest round of COVID-19 testing for players and personnel of the Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, according to multiple reports.
If no new positives are returned from Saturday testing on Sunday morning, the Saints-Panthers and Raiders-Tampa Bay Buccaneers games are cleared to be played.
The NFL said in a memo to teams late Friday that high-risk players, including four offensive linemen for the Raiders, would be eligible to return on Sunday after distancing during the week.
There was alarm in New Orleans and Carolina when the Saints placed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.
Sanders practiced with the team on Thursday but was not seen Friday during the part of practice open to reporters. Saints head coach Payton said the team learned of Sanders’ positive COVID-19 test on Thursday and team director of sports medicine Beau Lowery began setting up contact tracing.
“He wasn’t feeling well,” Payton said. “Right away (Lowery) sent him to our doctors for one of our tests. That came back positive. After that happened, we traced those players he was around, and coaches.
“We actually tested about 20 more people that might have been near him, and those all came back negative.”
Payton said cornerback Ken Crawley will be added to the COVID-19 list as a precaution due to close contact with Sanders.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas is already listed as out for Sunday’s game with ankle and hamstring injuries.
Thomas hasn’t played since Week 1. He suffered the ankle injury in the opener and later missed a game due to disciplinary reasons when it appeared he was ready to return.
Sanders is coming off a huge game against the Los Angeles Chargers recording a career-high 12 receptions for 122 yards in Week 5. Overall, he has 26 catches for 304 yards and two touchdowns this season.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)