What's the earliest date Cam Newton, Stephon Gilmore can return to Patriots?
Perry: When can Newton, Gilmore possibly return? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There's some confusion about when exactly Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore can get back on the field - thanks in part to the NFL's website, which is in need of an update - so we're trying to fix some of those loose ends here.
The number to know is two, like two consecutive negative COVID tests 24 hours apart. This is what asymptomatic players need to get back into the mix after the first positive test.
Gilmore tweeted Wednesday that he has no symptoms yet. If this continues because his Tuesday morning test was positive, he could theoretically play again if his Wednesday and Thursday tests were negative.
If Newton remains asymptomatic and tests negative on Wednesday and Thursday, he could return to training on Friday and play the Broncos on Sunday. (The Patriots will be working remotely on both Wednesday and Thursday as a precaution. No decision has been made on Friday's schedule.)
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This is how the return-to-play protocols are currently being written. I say "right now" because there was initially a five-day waiting period that all asymptomatic players had to do before returning. That is no longer the case.
Two negative PCR tests. Twenty-four hours apart. That's it. It is important to note, however, that a player's return will require NFL approval before it becomes official.
If a player continues to test positive, they must stop at least 10 days after their first positive test. At that point, even if he continues to show positive tests, he can come back pending league approval.
When a player has symptoms, it's more complicated. Before he can return he must take at least 10 days off since symptoms were reported, he must not have a fever for 24 hours, and all other symptoms must have improved.
I have it?
When a player has symptoms, they are down for 10 days. At least.
Newton posted a message about wearing masks on social media
When a player is asymptomatic? For example, what if Newton and Gilmore still fail to feel the effects of the virus? All you need are two negative tests one day apart.
How likely is it that one or both of them will make it back to the Broncos in time on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium? Not clear.
But those are the rules. At least for now.
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