There remains uncertainty around Alvin Kamara‘s availability leading up to the wildcard matchup against the Chicago Bears. The New Orleans Saints are optimistic about the situation despite no clarity on if he can play. With that in mind, Kamara and New Orleans are going the extra mile to keep that scenario possible.
Alvin Kamara misses Week 17 due to COVID-19
Following a career-best performance with tying a league record with six rushing touchdowns, Alvin Kamara suffered a disappointing setback.
Kamara missed Week 17 action due to landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week after testing positive for the virus.
Before that, he strung together a strong campaign with career highs with 932 rushing and 16 rushing touchdowns along with 83 receptions for 756 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He is only the second Saints player to lead the team in both rushing and receiving yards while setting the franchise mark with 21 total touchdowns.
His status for the playoffs remains uncertain, but the Saints are going the extra mile to keep a possible return viable.
Alvin Kamara is taking extra measure for wild-card playoff game return
Since Alvin Kamara was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, questions concerning his availability for the playoffs have arisen.
Despite grabbing a convincing Week 17 win over the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans failed to secure the top overall seed in the NFC. With that territory comes the necessity to play in the wild-card round with a matchup against the Chicago Bears.
The last few days have featured an increased push from Kamara to prepare himself to possibly play against the Bears. Star quarterback Drew Brees further increased the optimism around the situation by stating that the Pro Bowl running back didn’t need to practice this week to be ready to play.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Kamara is reportedly doing live practices this week remotely through TVU network technology. He has a set up at his home, showing him how the team is preparing their game plan for Chicago. The Saints also put a live microphone on head coach Sean Payton to vocally walk Kamara through the plays.
There isn’t any clarity on if the 25-year-old can play on Sunday, but he and the team are doing all the steps necessary to keep that possibility open. Sunday marks the first day that he can be eligible to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list. He will only have the opportunity to play after that point if he passes all the protocols spread out in the days before the game.
New Orleans’ backup plan
All the Saints and Alvin Kamara can continue to do is abide by the COVID-19 protocols set before them.
Kamara is taking progressive steps toward returning to the field, but there is a chance he won’t receive clearance in time. The Saints can pivot to backup Latavius Murray as the primary ball carrier as he racked up 656 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Murray has shown that he can handle a significant workload while Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery can spell him in the passing game. Meanwhile, the Saints are expected to get star wideout Michael Thomas back after missing the last three weeks. When healthy, Thomas has proven that he can be the game-changing talent that can lift New Orleans over the top.
The Bears’ improved defense will present some tough challenges, but it may come down to Drew Brees leading the charge with his arm.