Several New Orleans Saints running backs reportedly have been ruled out for Sunday’s game as close contacts of starter Alvin Kamara, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
According to multiple reports, backups Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington, fullback Michael Burton and running backs coach Joel Thomas will not be available when the Saints (11-4) close out the regular season against the Carolina Panthers (5-10) in Charlotte, N.C.
None of the other running backs tested positive and they are expected to return next week, per the reports.
Wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery likely will see the majority of the carries on Sunday. New Orleans is also expected to call up rookie Tony Jones Jr. from the practice squad. Versatile quarterback Taysom Hill is another option in the backfield.
In addition to Kamara, who is the team’s leading rusher (932 yards) and receiver (756), the short-handed Saints already were missing injured wide receivers Michael Thomas, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints reportedly also will be without veteran safety D.J. Swearinger due to the coronavirus. Starting safety Marcus Williams (ankle) already was ruled out, and cornerback Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)