2020 South Side Questions: When Will McDonald, Dotson Be Activated From Reserve/Covid-19 List?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: When will tight end Vance McDonald and lineman Kevin Dotson be activated from the Reserve/Covid-19 List?

The Steelers have two players on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, but only have confirmation that one of them—tight end Vance McDonald—has tested positive. That makes it impossible to know what the necessary timeline is for rookie offensive lineman Kevin Dotson.

A player who tests positive for the coronavirus must remain on the Reserve/Covid-19 List for at least 10 days no matter how many times he tests negative. McDonald was placed there last Monday, so he would be eligible to be activated tomorrow.

A player who is placed on the list as a high-risk close contact must remain there at least five days from his last exposure to the positive case he was around the prompted his being placed on the list. Assuming that Dotson has not tested positive, he should be eligible to be activated today, as he was originally placed on the list on Saturday.

But Dotson also missed practice at the end of last week with an illness, and there has been some speculation that he has tested positive. Rookie running back Anthony McFarland also missed practice at the end of last week due to illness and was not placed on the list. While he did not dress for the game, he did practice yesterday.

If he did test positive, then that means he is under a 10-day window, which means he will also have to miss Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it could even threaten his availability for the Baltimore Ravens game a week from today.

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