By Connor Grott
The New Orleans Saints placed star running back Alvin Kamara on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced Friday.
League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that Kamara tested positive for the coronavirus Friday afternoon, meaning he will miss the Saints’ regular-season finale against the division rival Carolina Panthers on Sunday. His status for a possible postseason opener next weekend also is in question.
Under the league’s COVID-19 protocols, a player who tests positive isn’t allowed to return until 10 days have passed since the initial positive test result. Kamara is eligible to return and play next Sunday if he remains asymptomatic.
New Orleans still has a chance to claim the No. 1 seed in the NFC, which would give the team a first-round bye in the playoffs. In addition to beating the Panthers, the Saints would need the Chicago Bears to beat the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks to defeat the San Francisco 49ers to earn the top seed.
If the Saints fail to clinch the NFC’s No. 1 seed, they will open the playoffs either next Saturday or Sunday.
The NFL isn’t expected to reveal the wild-card schedule until this Sunday. Should the Saints draw a Saturday game next weekend, Kamara would be unable to play.
Kamara leads the NFL with 21 touchdowns after becoming the first player in 91 years to record six rushing scores in a single game last weekend. He ranks third in the league with 1,688 yards from scrimmage this season.
In Kamara’s absence, backup running backs Latavius Murray, Ty Montgomery and Dwayne Washington will player larger roles.
Also Friday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they put linebacker Devin White, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett and defensive lineman Steve McLendon on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Buccaneers close the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.