The New England Patriots have a full-on COVID-19 outbreak on their hands. On Saturday, the team placed Sony Michel, Shaq Mason, and Derek Rivers on the COVID-19 reserve list.
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The Patriots placed Sony Michel, Derek Rivers and Shaq Mason on the COVID-19 reserve list. Mason nor Rivers will play on Sunday, and Michel was already on IR. ESPN's Mike Reiss wrote: The New England Patriots have placed starting right guard Shaq Mason, reserve defensive end Derek Rivers and running back Sony Michel on the reserve/COVID-19 list, a source tells ESPN's Field Yates. Those placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list either have tested positive for COVID-19 or are a close contact to someone who tested positive. On Friday, the Patriots canceled practice after a positive COVID-19 test. Later that day, the club placed center James Ferentz on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Patriots host the Denver Broncos on Sunday (CBS, 1 p.m. ET), and Ferentz, Mason and Rivers will not play in the game. Michel wouldn't have played anyway as he is on injured reserve. Starting defensive tackle Byron Cowart is also on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and will not play in the game. #Patriots #NewEnglandPatriots #CamNewton #StephonGilmore #DevinMcCourty #JasonMcCourty #JoshMcDaniels #JCJackson #LawrenceGuy #ChaseWinovich #JoshUche #KyleDugger #JoeThuney #JamesWhite #DamienHarris #JarrettStidham #AdamButler #JJTaylor #DevinAsiasi #DaltonKeene #JulianEdelman #NKealHarry #GunnerOlszewski #DavidAndrews #BillBelichick #RobertKraft #AFCEast #AFC #NFL
According to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, Michel tested positive, but Mason nor Rivers did, but both were still placed on the list.
Sony Michel has tested positive and is being placed on the COVID-19 list. Shaq Mason and Derek Rivers have not tested positive but are being placed on the COVID-19 list, per source.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) October 17, 2020
What Does This Mean for Michel?
As long as he isn’t symptomatic and doesn’t develop any issues down the road, Michel will be the least impacted out of the latest group that was placed on the COVID-19 list. Michel was already on injured reserve and wouldn’t have played on Sunday in any case.
Second-year-pro Damien Harris will get his second straight start for the team. Michel will not be able to use the Patriots’ facility to rehab his quad injury, which could have an impact on his conditioning when he’s healthy enough to return.
What Does This Mean for Mason?
The situation is a little more impacting on a football level for Mason. It goes without saying, we hope Mason remains healthy throughout the process and never tests positive. It seems he may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive, or perhaps he was feeling ill but hadn’t tested positive for COVID-19.
In any case, the Patriots are losing their starting right guard. The offensive line has been a constantly reshuffling group since the offseason when Marcus Cannon opted out of the season due to concerns with COVID-19. From there, David Andrews was placed on injured reserve and earlier in the week, backup center James Ferentz tested positive for COVID-19 and was also placed on the reserve list.
CLNS’ Evan Lazar is predicting the Patriots will start tackle Justin Herron in Mason’s spot.
My guess is the #Patriots go with Wynn-Onwenu-Thuney-Herron-Eluemunor tomorrow, or some combination of those five.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) October 17, 2020
What Does This Mean for Rivers?
The oft-injured Rivers hasn’t tested positive, but like Mason, he may have been experiencing some symptoms or been exposed to someone who has the virus.
He’s made an impact on defense this season with his ability as a pass rusher. He has 1.5 sacks on the young season. However, the Patriots are likely in a little better position to compensate for his absence than Mason.
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