Giants on track for MNF game vs. Buccaneers after players cleared to leave quarantine

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·2 min read

The New York Giants are back on track for their “Monday Night Football” showcase against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The matchup was in jeopardy after a positive test in the Giants organization and quarantine procedures decimated the offensive line’s availability.

Offensive line returns to Giants practices

Will Hernandez was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the Giants on Thursday and all but four offensive lineman were placed in quarantine after contact tracing. Being on the list does not mean someone has tested positive for the virus; it could instead mean he was exposed to someone who tested positive or has symptoms.

Those linemen who were sent home were back with the team on Friday. Offensive linebackers coach Bret Bielema and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson are also back at work after being considered “close contacts” on Thursday.

The team is holding meetings remotely per protocol and will practice at MetLife Stadium rather than Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It’s been rainy and dreary for days in the New Jersey area.

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An empty MetLife stadium with the Giants on the sidelines.
The New York Giants remain on track to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The group was not deemed “high risk” contacts per NFL’s COVID-19 protocol. If they had been and were required to stay quarantined through the weekend, the Giants would not have had the required eighth offensive linemen dressed for the game.

That would have created another scheduling fiasco with a forced opening on “Monday Night Football” that the NFL would have likely had to fill. But as of Friday morning, it appears the game will still go on as scheduled with only one player, Hernandez, unable to play on Monday.

It could have other impacts on the primetime matchup, which already seems lopsided between a struggling NFC East team that’s 1-6 and Tom Brady’s rising 5-2 Buccaneers squad.

The Las Vegas Raiders faced a similar issue last week when they had to practice without five offensive lineman following Trent Brown’s placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The four close contacts of Brown were cleared in time for Sunday’s game — oddly enough, also against the Buccaneers — but the Raiders were trounced, 45-20. Raiders coach Jon Gruden was “livid” the game was allowed to go on and believed his offensive line suffered because they hadn’t been able to practice.

The Giants group, as of Friday, has only missed one day of practice. And both the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans have played games on limited practice already this year, both to different results.

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