The Indianapolis Colts suspended practiced on Friday, just two days before Sunday’s Week 6 game, after discovering what might be the latest COVID-19 outbreak to hit the NFL this week.
A day after the Atlanta Falcons reported their second new case of the coronavirus within 72 hours, Sunday’s game between the Colts and Cincinnati Bengals could be in jeopardy due to a potentially even larger outbreak.
Update: Friday,Oct. 16 at 11:30 AM EST
Latest news on Indianapolis Colts COVID-19 outbreak scare
On Friday, the Indianapolis Colts announced that multiple individuals with the organization tested positive for COVID-19 during Thursday’s round of testing. As a result, the facility has been closed indefinitely and the team will work remotely during that time.
As noted by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, this is the first time the Colts have had any issues during the COVID-19 pandemic since the NFL began daily testing before training camp. Following the positive tests, the organization will go through a series of steps to confirm the results.
We’ve seen false positives occur in the NFL before. Before the season began, the league experienced a major scare when dozens of test results came back positive. It was later determined a mistake was made during processing at the lab. The New Orleans Saints had a player test positive hours before their Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions, but re-checks determined it was a false positive.
If the results were confirmed, the Colts would immediately need to quarantine and re-test personnel who came in close contact with the carriers of the coronavirus. Under the NFL’s new guidelines, anyone determined to be a ‘high risk’ close contact person would need to isolate for five days.
As of now, the NFL still intends for the Week 6 game between the Colts and Bengals to be played. It follows the precedent we’ve seen throughout the 2020 season, with the league not adjusting the schedule until absolutely necessary.
Fortunately, Colts’ owner Jim Irsay provided even more reason for optimism later on Friday. Without providing specific details, Irsay made it clear that Sunday’s game against the Bengals is still scheduled. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the three coaches and a player who first tested positive, have been re-tested and cleared.
However, there’s still a chance the Colts could miss multiple players or coaches on Sunday. If the positive tests are confirmed, the five-day window for high-risk close contacts would extend beyond the team’s game in 48 hours. Fortunately, the expansion to 16-man practice squads this year would provide the team with some roster flexibility.