It’s every fan’s nightmare: a day before the big game, and your team’s quarterback suddenly has to enter health and safety protocols.
Situations like these are unfortunate, but they’re a reality of the pandemic world we’re currently in.
Even vaccinated players can end up missing time, which makes it hard to keep track of exactly how the NFL’s COVID protocols work.
Will your favorite player be back in time for fantasy football next week? Is your local team going without its star running back on Sunday? Things can get messy for fans trying to sort everything out on their own.
Thankfully, PlayIndiana has you covered.
We’ve got the breakdown of how the NFL’s COVID policies actually work, plus an updated list of which Indianapolis Colts players are out of the action right now.
We’ll update this post weekly, so feel free to check back in regardless of whether you’re setting your fantasy lineup or betting on the Colts.
NFL COVID policy breakdown
So you’ve just heard that a Colts player is dealing with COVID protocols.
But what does that actually mean? When can he return to the field? Turns out, it depends on a handful of different factors.
The key difference here is whether or not that player has been vaccinated.
NFL rules for vaccinated players
According to the NFL’s official COVID policy, vaccinated players will have a pretty easy time navigating the season.
The league is still using contact tracing to determine if someone has been around an infected individual.
Let’s say a player went to a family barbeque over the weekend, but uncle Joe ended up having COVID. Usually, that player would be forced to sit out games because of his proximity to the virus.
For players that are vaccinated, those contact tracing rules do not apply this season.
Colts players will not have to enter health and safety protocols unless they actually test positive. That’s true regardless of whether or not they’ve been in contact with the virus recently.
If a vaccinated player does end up testing positive, they can return to football activities after testing negative twice. Those tests will have to take place at least 24 hours apart from each other.
COVID rules for Carson Wentz, other unvaccinated Colts players
Things get a little messier for players that don’t have their vaccine. This applies particularly to Colts fans since quarterback Carson Wentz is not vaccinated.
Players like Wentz have to undergo daily tests with the team.
If they miss even one day of testing, the team will start playing it safe. That player will have to test negative for five straight days before they can return to action.
As far as contact tracing goes, unvaccinated players will have to quarantine for five days if they end up in close contact with someone that has COVID.
If an unvaccinated player tests positive, then they’ll be out of the mix for at least 10 days. Once those 10 days are up, they can return to football activities if they’re asymptomatic and test negative.
Those are the rules for players until they become fully vaccinated. The NFL considers players to be fully vaccinated once 14 days have passed since their final shot.
Indianapolis Colts Week 2 COVID list
The Colts have one of the lower vaccination rates in the NFL, but that is slowly changing.
However, many of Indy’s key players remain unvaccinated. Centerpieces like Wentz missing time could be a recurring theme for the Colts this season.
The Colts seem to be in the clear so far when it comes to their Week 2 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. The team doesn’t have any players on track to miss the season’s first game due to protocols.
Carson Wentz, Eric Fisher, Ryan Kelly, and Zach Pascal were recently on COVID reserve, but the Colts removed all of them from the list earlier this month.
Things are looking good for Week 2, but of course, that could change leading up to game time. Hopefully things go off without a hitch and the team can compete at full strength this Sunday.