Carson Wentz Could Play vs. Raiders After Going on COVID List, per Colts HC Reich

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz will play in Sunday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders if he is able to clear NFL protocols, coach Frank Reich told reporters Wednesday.

Under new NFL protocols, Wentz would be eligible to play five days after his positive test if he is asymptomatic. Players must be at least 24 hours removed from having a fever without the aid of medication and not exhibiting any symptoms; players will not be required to test negative and are to self-report symptoms. 

Wentz, who is unvaccinated, would have been forced to sit out 10 days under the previous rules. The new NFL rules apply regardless of a player's vaccination status, though unvaccinated players remain under stricter day-to-day rules. 

The alteration to NFL policy comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened the recommended isolation time for asymptomatic people from 10 days to five earlier this week. CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday the policy alteration came after an estimation of what the national public health agency "thought people would be able to tolerate." 

The CDC says asymptomatic people are at their most contagious in the early stages of contracting the virus. However, there has been criticism of the policy change because some view it as being at the behest of business interests rather than public health. 

Regardless of public sentiment, the NFL moved quickly and became the first professional sports league to adopt the shortened quarantine period. That will make several players who would have otherwise been ineligible for Week 17 games available to their team.

The Colts are winners of three straight games and six of their last seven, moving to 9-6 with an outside shot at winning the AFC South. They will need to win their last two games and have the Tennesse Titans lose out to win the division.

Having Wentz in the lineup this weekend will increase their odds, however slim, of getting the job done.