- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2020

There’s an extra element to Thursday night’s matchup between the 49ers and the Packers, and it has nothing to do with who’s on the field. Rather, it’s all about who’s off it.

After Green Bay running back AJ Dillon tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week, tailback Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin were also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as close contacts. And with Aaron Jones still questionable to play as he nurses a calf injury that’s held him out for the past two games, the Packers are potentially down to Tyler Ervin and Dexter Williams in the backfield.

For San Francisco, it’s even worse. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tight end George Kittle are recent additions to an already lengthy injury report, joining running backs Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert as unavailable for the game.

And then the 49ers were forced to shut their facility Wednesday after a positive test for wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Following contract tracing, left tackle Trent Williams and wideouts Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel were also added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, although Samuel had already been ruled out for Thursday’s game through injury.

With no new positive tests reported from Wednesday’s testing, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the game will go on as scheduled.

However, there are examples of games being adjusted for coronavirus cases this year. In past weeks, the Patriots and Chiefs game was moved from a Sunday to a Monday night following positive coronavirus tests. The Titans had multiple positive tests on their roster, leading to a reshuffling of the schedule.

But here, the 49ers and Packers will play on, despite cases on both sides and a surge in the virus across the country. On Wednesday, the U.S. had over 100,000 new cases confirmed in a single day for the first time, an unsavory record that paints an ominous backdrop on Thursday night’s game.

“I have no reservations about [playing Thursday],” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday. “… This is the NFL in 2020. A lot of people are dealing with it. I feel confident with our guys. Hopefully the tests keep coming back negative with everybody else.”


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