The Ravens added defensive end Jihad Ward to the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, the eighth player to join the list this week amid a coronavirus outbreak within the team.
Ward joins running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, defensive linemen Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams, offensive linemen Patrick Mekari and Matt Skura and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee on the list, and all will miss Sunday’s road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward has not played since recording a sack in a Week 6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Ravens-Steelers game previously scheduled for Thanksgiving night was postponed to a Sunday 1:15 p.m. kickoff, broadcast nationally on NBC, after a spike in cases. The NFL Network reported Thursday that the Ravens had one player and a couple of staff members test positive for COVID-19, and it doesn’t appear to affect the status of Sunday’s game.
The reserve/COVID-19 list is for players who have tested positive or are considered a “high-risk” close contact. Under coronavirus protocols, any player who returned a positive test taken after Monday would likely miss both the Steelers game and the Ravens’ next game, a Dec. 3 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. Any players who returned positive tests would be unable to play unless they test negative twice at least 24 hours apart.
Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, told the NFL Network on Wednesday that, through contact tracing and other measures, NFL officials “feel like we have a really good handle on exactly when transmission occurred and how it occurred.”
“Obviously, you have to take each day as it comes and look for any new data that may emerge, but right now, we simply feel that, as of tomorrow, we would not have confidence in going forward,” Sills said. “But I think we feel we’re very close to the end of that transmission event.”
In a statement Wednesday, the Ravens said an unnamed staff member had been disciplined for “conduct surrounding the recent COVID-19 cases that have affected players and staff.” According to the NFL Network, the staff member was a strength and conditioning coach who had failed to report symptoms and had not consistently worn a mask or tracking device, as required by NFL protocols.
The Ravens have not been allowed in the team facility since Monday, when coach John Harbaugh announced that Ingram and Dobbins had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Ravens also released an estimated injury report since the team did not practice Thursday. Ward was listed as out with a non-injury related reason, while cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle) was also sidelined. Tight end Mark Andrews (thigh), outside linebacker Matthew Judon (ankle), guard Tyre Phillips (ankle) were listed as limited participants, while defensive end Derek Wolfe (illness) was a full participant.