The Saints will be without all of their running backs in Week 17.
This means Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Dwayne Washington and even fullback Michael Burton are all out. This is the result of a positive test from Kamara, and close contact tracing for the rest of the running back group, per Fox Sports.
The entire Saints RB room won’t be available tomorrow bc of close contact to Alvin Kamara. Latavius Murry, Burton, Washington, RB coach all out tomorrow @NFLonFOX. They are moving Ty Montgomery to RB and calling up practice squad RB
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) January 2, 2021
Ty Montomgery, who started his career as a WR, is expected to fill in at running back.
#Saints RB/WR Ty Montgomery has one carry this season. He last had more than 3 carries on Dec. 8 while playing for the #Jets. He’ll probably get more tomorrow with Alvin Kamara… and all the other backs out.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 2, 2021
MORE: NFL picks and predictions for Week 17
This is a similar situation the Broncos faced earlier in the season when they were forced to play with no quarterbacks.
After receiving mixed test results earlier in the week, Kamara had his positive test confirmed Friday, and he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, making him ineligible to play in Sunday’s regular season finale against the Carolina Panthers.
Kamara’s status puts the Saints in a precarious position, needing a win and some help on Sunday to secure the NFC’s number one seed and a first-round bye.
If New Orleans does not secure the top seed, they will play a Wild Card round game the following weekend, and Kamara’s involvement in that game could be in doubt.
NFL rules state that Kamara could not return until 10 days after the collection of the specimen that produced a positive test. If the conclusive sample was collected on Thursday, Kamara would be eligible to return for a first-round playoff game a week on Sunday, January 10.
If the Saints were scheduled in one of the three Saturday game slots, Kamara would be forced to watch from the sidelines.
The fourth-year running back has logged career bests this season with 21 total touchdowns, 1688 yards from scrimmage and 83 receptions.
Kamara is placed on the shelf one week after an all-time performance on Christmas Day, rushing for 155 yards and a record-tying six touchdowns as the Saints routed the Minnesota Vikings 52-33.
The news of Kamara’s positive tests came the same day that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed three defenders on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Inside linebacker Devin White, outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett and defensive lineman Steve McLendon will all miss the Buccaneers’ game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday as Tampa Bay jockey for better playoff positioning.
The Buccaneers did not disclose whether the players had tested positive for the virus or had been tagged in contact-tracing efforts.
White’s nine sacks are second on the team this season, while Barrett’s eight sacks rank third.