Saints' Alvin Kamara Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List Ahead of Week 17

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2021

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) crosses the goal line on a touchdown carry in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)
Brett Duke/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints announced Friday they placed running back Alvin Kamara on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kamara is out for Sunday's game at the Carolina Panthers and there are questions about his availability for the playoffs.

The running back is coming off a historic effort in Week 16, having scored six rushing touchdowns in a Christmas Day win over the Minnesota Vikings to tie a 91-year-old record and help the Saints clinch the NFC South.

The 25-year-old leads the NFL with 21 touchdowns and has a career-high 932 rushing yards plus 756 receiving yards. It's the fourth straight year he has topped 1,300 yards from scrimmage and earned a Pro Bowl selection.

In 2020, Kamara has been a steady presence for an offense that has had key injuries throughout the year, including to Drew Brees and Michael Thomas.

Latavius Murray can handle extra carries with Kamara sidelined—he has 656 yards on 4.5 yards per carry this season—but the Saints would suffer without a key playmaker in both the passing and rushing attack.

Though New Orleans has already clinched a playoff berth, the team can still earn the NFC's first-round bye with a win plus a Green Bay Packers loss and Seattle Seahawks win.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Any more missed time for Kamara would be especially damaging for a franchise that has fallen short of expectations in the postseason over the past few years. New Orleans finished 13-3 in each of the last two seasons but was eliminated in overtime losses both times. From 2017 to 2019, the Saints lost in the divisional round, the conference title game and then the Wild Card Round.

Not having its star running back for the playoffs would be another blow for the organization.