The Indianapolis Colts could play a crucial Week 17 game without their starting quarterback. Carson Wentz — who is unvaccinated — was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday.
Wentz's status for the team's Week 17 game against the Las Vegas Raiders depends on whether he tested positive for COVID-19 and new quarantine protocols reportedly implemented by the NFL on Tuesday afternoon. It's not clear if he tested positive or was deemed a close contact. The new protocols could potentially clear the way for Wentz to play.
Per previous protocols, since he's unvaccinated, a positive test would have resulted in Wentz spending 10 days on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He would have been eligible to return prior to the team's Week 18 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to the reported new protocols, players who test positive are only required to spend five days in isolation. If the new protocols apply to Wentz and he tested positive on Monday or prior, he would be eligible to play on Sunday if he's asymptomatic.
The news comes as the Colts are fighting for a playoff spot in the AFC. At 9-6, the team sits in the fifth postseason spot in the AFC with two games remaining. A loss to the Raiders would be significant, as Las Vegas sits a game behind the Colts in the conference.
Colts encouraged players to get vaccinated against COVID-19
After a brief stint on the reserve/COVID-19 list in August, Wentz said he was undecided about receiving the COVID vaccine. Team general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich encouraged Colts players to get vaccinated before the start of the season. Reich admitted it was frustrating to try and talk to players on the fence about receiving the vaccine.
The Colts are one of the many teams dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak as the regular season winds down. With Wentz's addition, the team placed at least 14 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list in the past couple weeks.