New York Giants head coach Joe Judge said Thursday that he expects the Giants to play the Bucs on Monday night as scheduled despite one of his players testing positive for COVID-19.
There was some uncertainty earlier in the day about whether a Bucs game slated for prime time might be rescheduled for a second straight week after an opposing player tested positive for COVID-19.
Judge said the game will not be postponed.
“We are expecting to play Monday night,” he told reporters.
The Giants received word late Wednesday night that one of their players received a positive test result, the team said in a statement. That player has since been identified as offensive lineman Will Hernandez, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Eight players, mostly offensive linemen, and two coaches are in self-isolation.
“We’ve been fortunate, in that there’s really no high-risk guys within the tracer contacts,” Judge said. “But there are precautious we have to take as a team. We’re optimistic to get all these guys back. So we’re operating that we’re going to have them back right now.”
The Bucs are scheduled to play the Giants this week on Monday Night Football. It was not immediately known whether the game would be rescheduled or for when. By Thursday afternoon, the Bucs had not heard from the league about any scheduling changes.
Here is the full statement from the Giants:
"Late last night, we were notified that a Giants player tested positive for COVID-19. The player was immediately self-isolated, and the contact tracing process was initiated.
"All of the player’s close contacts were identified and were informed to remain home today. Those individuals will participate in meetings remotely. We are working closely with the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer regarding next protocol steps.
“Quest Diagnostics Training Center will remain open, and the rest of the team will follow their normal practice and meeting schedule.”
The Giants learned of the positive test Wednesday night and contact tracing began. The player’s close contacts were identified and told to remain home Thursday and participate in meetings remotely. The rest of the team was following normal practice and meeting schedules at the team facility.
“We’re going to make sure our players are wearing the masks during the actual activity," Judge said of Thursday’s practice. “That’ll be different for our guys right there.”
Judge also said he would conduct Thursday’s post-practice meeting virtually.
On Tuesday, Judge said he had spoken with quarterback Daniel Jones and several other players about a video taken last weekend in which they were shown without masks in public. Judge said the team would handle the matter internally.
Jones, injured running back Saquon Barkley, receiver Sterling Shepard and other players had dinner at a New York City restaurant in private. Afterward, some went to a closed bar at the invitation of the owner. They were filmed there without masks.
Last week, the Bucs were scheduled to play the Raiders on Sunday Night Football, but the game was moved to 4:05 p.m. after Las Vegas offensive lineman Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19 and the Raiders sent home their entire offensive line as a precaution.
It appeared that the NFL did not want to risk a last-minute cancellation of one of its prime-time games.
This is a developing story. Check tampabay.com for updates.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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