The Los Angeles Chargers are placing left tackle Rashawn Slater on the reserve/COVID-19 list, with an AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs looming on Thursday.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Slater tested positive Monday morning but still could play Thursday if he tests negative twice in a 24-hour span.
Slater, a rookie out of Northwestern, has been instrumental in protecting quarterback Justin Herbert this season. If he is unavailable Thursday, it would be a huge loss for the Chargers.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen is expected to be ready for the Chiefs game, after testing positive and spending last week in league protocols, Staley said Sunday.
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The NFL had 37 total positive COVID-19 tests Monday, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. For perspective, the NFL had 72 confirmed positive tests (43 staff, 29 players) during the most recent two-week reporting period of Nov. 14-27.
The Chargers face the added challenge of a short turnaround this week, coming off a 37-21 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Staley arranged for his team to begin their physical recovery immediately after the game, with players whisked into a separate room off the locker room filled with ice tubs and massage tables and people to help “flush” them.
Defensive end Joey Bosa said Monday that he usually goes through that routine after games but that this was a teamwide effort that got everyone thinking about getting better quickly.
“This is the best I have felt going into a Thursday night game,” he said, attributing it mainly to the numerous three-and-outs and limited reps against the Giants in addition to the instant recovery treatment.
Bosa also said Monday that Staley made the right decision to keep him out of the Chargers’ 41-22 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 5 after he took a hit to the head. Bosa, who had two concussions last year, said he wanted to return but acknowledged that in the long term, he needs to think carefully about those hits because of the “possibility I might have to retire.” He added that he’s not thinking about that possibility right now.