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Packers news: A.J. Dillon tests positive for COVID-19

Aug 8, 2019; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers helmets sit on the sidelines during the game against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers running back A.J. Dillon tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the result coming just hours after the team was upset in Week 8 by the Minnesota Vikings.

The NFL recently began testing players for the coronavirus on Sundays, following outbreaks across the league. With the Packers preparing to play on Thursday Night Football in Week 9, the team received troubling news Monday morning.

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Green Bay Packers news: A.J. Dillon tests positive for COVID-19

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Dillon tested positive for COVID-19. He will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list later today, but early indications are he is the only positive test.

The timing couldn’t be worse for Green Bay. Due to the NFL’s enhanced COVID-19 regulations, the result of the Titans’ outbreak, a new policy regarding high-risk close contacts was created. Since Oct. 24, any player or coach that contact tracing determines was at “high risk” for exposure to the virus must quarantine for five days. They would not be allowed to resume team activities until six consecutive days of negative PCR tests.

Dillon played 17 snaps during Sunday’s game, sharing a backfield with Aaron Rodgers and spending plenty of time with fellow running back Jamaal Williams. Green Bay was without Aaron Jones, who has missed two games with a calf injury.

As Pelissero notes, the NFL hasn’t found evidence that the virus has been transmitted on the field during play. However, the CDC recently released new guidelines highlighting that even 15 minutes of “close contact” with a carrier can transmit the virus.

Dillon, Green Bay’s second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has seen limited playing time in his rookie season. The 22-year-old has stepped into a larger role as of late with Jones sidelined, so losing him is a blow for this team’s depth at running back.

The Packers have started contact tracing, which will determine if any players need to be quarantined for the next five days. Given the team plays on Thursday, there would not be enough time to receive clearance to play.

Green Bay will now desperately have to hope Dillon’s case is the lone instance on the team and it somehow didn’t spread to teammates and coaches. Otherwise, the Packers will be seriously short-handed in Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers.

This could also put Thursday’s game in jeopardy, which would create more problems for the NFL in an attempt to reschedule games.