If the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos play their game as scheduled this Sunday, the Patriots will be at a distinct disadvantage.
New England canceled its Wednesday practice after star cornerback Stephon Gilmore reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The team plans to call off Thursday’s practice, as well, according to a report from Albert Breer of The MMQB, meaning the earliest it could return to the field would be Friday.
Teams typically hold their final full practice of a game week on Friday, followed by a Saturday walkthrough.
It remains to be seen how long Gilmore, the Patriots’ top corner and the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, will be sidelined, and whether quarterback Cam Newton will be available after he tested positive last Friday.
If he remains asymptomatic, Newton theoretically could return to practice late this week and play Sunday. That’s no guarantee, however. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Newton was “a longshot” to play against Denver.
Under new NFL rules announced Wednesday, Gilmore also could play Sunday if he does not show symptoms and returns two negative tests separated by 24 hours this week.
As of Wednesday morning, the NFL was planning to proceed as scheduled with Sunday’s game, according to a report from Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News.
If the game is played and Newton is not deemed fit to participate, either Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham would start at quarterback for New England. Both saw action in Monday night’s 26-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, with Stidham replacing Hoyer late in the third quarter.