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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts activated quarterback Carson Wentz from the reserve / COVID-19 list on Saturday, getting him ready to start on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Wentz, who was to be activated from the list by the Colts at. 16.00 ET Saturday to be eligible to play Sunday, has another obstacle to get over before he is officially ready to start against the Raiders. His COVID-19 symptoms must be “resolved or improved” by Sunday morning, according to the new NFL policy, in order for him to play against Las Vegas.
Wentz, who is unvaccinated, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. The NFL and NFLPA adjusted their protocols this week to follow the CDC’s new guidelines, but they cleared players to return from the COVID-19 list after only five days if they are asymptomatic or show that their symptoms are diminishing.
Wentz spent the week attending the Colts’ meetings almost as he got over it, coach Frank Reich called a “slow start to the week, as far as physical.” The quarterback was expected to spend the last part of the week training at home according to a plan that the team’s medical and training staff put together for him so he could be ready for Sunday’s match if he gets time off.
In his first season with the Colts, which got him an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, Wentz has thrown for 3,230 yards with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions in 2021.
Rookie Sam Ehlinger will start as a quarterback if Wentz does not clear his last hurdle on Sunday morning. “Very sure of Carson’s preparation this week,” Reich said Friday. “He’s been called in to Zoom meetings.”
The Colts have been hit hard by COVID-19 over the last week or so. But the adjusted protocol has allowed them to get players back faster than originally expected, which has given them a relatively healthy list for the season’s stretches. Linebacker Darius Leonard, guards Quenton Nelson and Mark Glowinski and right tackle Braden Smith are some of the notable starters who have returned from the COVID-19 list over the last few days.
“I feel like the guys have all reacted – maybe there was a day I thought one of the guys might come back as if he might need another half day of rest,” Reich said. “I think the guys have looked good, have reacted well. You just get stronger every day. For the most part, it’s been pretty clean.”
The Colts (9-6) can win a playoff spot with a win over the Raiders. Indianapolis is currently the fifth seeded in the AFC playoff race.