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2020 South Side Questions: Have Dobbins, Ingram Tested Negative?

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: Have J.K. Dobbins And Mark Ingram actually tested negative?

After it was announced that the Steelers’ game against the Baltimore Ravens would be postponed a third time, this time by just one day, several national reporters relayed the basic mathematical fact that, since Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram tested positive the Sunday before last, Wednesday would represent a 10-day window that would make them eligible to play.

But being eligible to play after going through a mandatory 10-day isolation period on the Reserve/Covid-19 List for any player who has manifested symptoms is not the same thing as saying that they will play. As Steelers fans should be aware, not every player comes off the list after 10 days. Both Vance McDonald and Kevin Dotson spent over two weeks on the list.

Players must test negative, twice, at least 24 hours apart, before they can be approved by team and league medical experts for return to their team facilities. As of this writing, I have seen no sound reports indicating that either of them have actually tested negative.

If they haven’t, of course, then they won’t be able to return to play. Anybody who tests positive is not going to be eligible to play until they test positive twice at least 24 hours apart afterwards. Maybe they have tested negative already, and are on track to return and play in the game. But we don’t know that they will. And even if they do, they will not have practiced. Dobbins is a rookie, so even if he plays, without practice time, it might mean a reduced role.

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