INDIANAPOLIS – As expected, the Indianapolis Colts have activated quarterback Carson Wentz off the COVID-19 list Saturday.
But one step remains before he’s able to start Sunday’s meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium: Wentz still must gain medical clearance Sunday.
Failing that, rookie Sam Ehlinger makes his first NFL start. If the 9-6 Colts win, they secure a playoff spot.
Wentz has been quarantined since testing positive and being placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday. He would have been unable to play Sunday under the NFL’s prior guidelines – an unvaccinated player had to miss at least 10 days – but that changed when the league adopted new CDC protocols that reduced the quarantine period to five days.
Wentz has stayed heavily involved with preparations for the Raiders game by participating in meetings virtually.
“Very confident in Carson’s preparation this week. He’s been dialed in on Zoom meetings,’’ coach Frank Reich said Friday. “We’ll have to see how these next couple of days play out, but he’s had a good week.’’
Reich acknowledged that Wentz had COVID-19 symptoms early and had a “slow start to the week as far as physically,’’ but showed good progress as the week unfolded.
The Colts also activated right tackle Braden Smith and cornerback T.J. Carrie from the COVID-19 list. The also must be cleared medically before playing against the Raiders.
Smith and Carrie were added to the list Monday, and also benefitted from the NFL’s adjusted protocols.
In other moves for Sunday, the Colts elevated long snapper Kyle Nelson and safety Will Redmond to the active roster from the practice squad. Quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive tackle Chris Williams were added to the active roster from the practice squad as COVID-19 replacements.
Center Joey Hunt and offensive tackle Greg Senat were waived while cornerback Chris Wilcox was restored to the practice squad from the COVID-19 list.
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.