New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has tested positive for coronavirus and has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced on Friday.
Kamara will be out for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and his postseason eligibility — at least for the wild-card round — is now in question.
The star running back, who was coming off a six-touchdown performance on Christmas Day against the Minnesota Vikings, had mixed results on tests Friday afternoon, but a later test confirmed he is positive for COVID-19, ESPN reported.
The Saints have clinched the NFC South title and will likely host a playoff game next weekend if it doesn’t ascend to the conference’s top seed.
“If Saints RB Alvin Kamara remains asymptomatic and receives medical clearance, he could play in a wild-card game next Sunday, Jan. 10 — but not next Saturday, Jan. 9, I’m told,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Twitter. “So Kamara’s availability for New Orleans’ playoff opener may hinge on the NFL’s scheduling decision.”
New Orleans (11-4) can only clinch the No. 1 seed — and the first-round bye that comes with it — with a win against Carolina (5-10) plus a loss by Green Bay (12-3) to Chicago (8-7) and a win by Seattle (11-4) against San Francisco (6-9).
It is yet to be determined whether Kamara would be cleared to play in a wild-card game next weekend, so the Saints will have plenty of incentive and rooting interest Sunday as they hope to sneak into the No. 1 spot in the NFC.
Latavius Murray should handle the bulk of the backfield work with Kamara sidelined.
Kamara has 187 carries for a career-high 932 yards and 16 touchdowns this season, tied for first in the NFL. He leads all running backs in receiving with a career-best and team-leading 83 receptions for 756 yards with five touchdowns.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)