Not three weeks out from opening their season against the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dallas Cowboys are dealing with a COVID-19 scare.
The Cowboys added three players to the reserve/COVID list on Monday, bringing the team's total to four players and a coach in health and safety protocol after defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive tackle Carlos Watkins missed Saturday's preseason game against the Houston Texans.
Among the players added Monday is second-year wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys' 2020 first-round pick who's a strong candidate for a breakout campaign after tallying 935 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. Reserve defensive backs Malik Hooker and Israel Mukuamu were also added to the list.
Cowboys not meeting in person
Head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that the team has been operating virtually since Sunday.
“Just like most things we do, we’re just being cautious and want to make sure we contain this outbreak and just be smart with that,” McCarthy told reporters. “We have enough experience with the virtual format."
The team plans to return to full practice on Tuesday.
Will COVID concerns interfere with regular season?
The Cowboys announced on Saturday that 93% of their players are vaccinated as well as 100% of the team's coaching staff. It's not clear how many players have passed the 14-day post-vaccination incubation period to be considered inoculated. It's also not clear who, if any, of the five Cowboys placed on the list has tested positive for COVID-19. Close contacts are required to be placed on the NFL's reserve/COVID list.
Both Quinn and Watkins reported feeling ill before being sent home from AT&T Stadium on Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News. Vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 must remain isolated until they return two negative tests at least 24 hours apart and for 48 hours after they last experience symptoms.
The Cowboys conclude preseason play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and kick off their regular season on Sept. 9 against the Bucs.
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