The Baltimore Ravens are on a short week and scheduled to play the undefeated divisional rival Pittsburgh Steelers this Thursday on Thanksgiving, but a recent development has put this holiday matchup in jeopardy. On Monday, the Ravens registered multiple positive tests for COVID-19, and have shut down their facility. The team learned of the positive tests on Sunday night hours after falling to the Tennessee Titans in overtime, 30-24, and have been communicating with the league.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stated that running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have tested positive and will not be available for Thursday night’s game against the Steelers. Gus Edwards, who rushed for 130 yards against the Steelers in Week 17 of the 2019 season, is slated to start on Thanksgiving Day. Additionally, defensive tackle Brandon Williams is also being placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
The Ravens released a statement on their current COVID-19 situation.
“Late last night, we were informed that multiple members of the Baltimore Ravens organization tested positive for COVID-19, and those individuals immediately began to self-quarantine. We have started the process of contact tracing, and during this time, the Under Armour Performance Center will be closed, with all team activities conducted virtually. We will continue to work closely with and follow guidance from the NFL, team doctors and our medical trainers.”
Harbaugh said that Thursday night’s game between the Ravens and Steelers remains on schedule as of now. Depending on how quickly the Ravens can identify close contacts from the infected individuals, the game could indeed be played. As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert noted, if the NFL finds any “high-risk” close contacts among the Ravens, the required five-day isolation period would force those players to miss Thursday night’s important matchup.
This may be the most difficult obstacle the league has been forced to work around up to this point concerning the ongoing pandemic. As the Titans played the Ravens on Sunday, they will certainly also be forced to undergo additionally testing to see if the virus has spread.