The New England Patriots might have to face the Buffalo Bills on Monday without one of their best defenders. According to the NFL transactions wire, starting safety Kyle Dugger tested positive for the Coronavirus and was placed on the Covid-19 reserve list.
Dugger is the second Patriot sent to the reserve list this week, after running back J.J. Taylor on Monday. His status for the game in Buffalo is therefore left in question, and dependent on his vaccination status.
If Dugger is vaccinated, there is a chance he could come off the list before Monday. Per NFL protocols, vaccinated and asymptomatic players can return when testing negative twice with 24 hours in between. If he is vaccinated but showing symptoms, he will have to be asymptomatic for 48 hours before going through the same testing procedure to return.
If unvaccinated, however, Dugger would be forced to spend at least 10 days away from the facility. He would miss the game against the Bills if that is the case, and might not become eligible to return until during the subsequent bye week.
Losing Dugger, 25, for any extended period of time would be a major loss for New England’s top-ranked scoring defense. Now in his second-year out of Lenoir-Rhyne, he has played 81 percent of New England’s defensive snaps so far this season, plus 36 percent on special teams. Appearing in all 12 games he has registered a team-leading 80 tackles as well as three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Sending Dugger to the Covid-19 list was only one of the Patriots’ transactions on Wednesday. The team also released a pair of players.
Rookie kicker Quinn Nordin, who was just recently designated to return from injured reserve, was waived. If unclaimed on the waiver wire, Nordin could return via the New England practice squad.
The Patriots also released cornerback Thakarius “BoPete” Keyes off their practice squad just one day after signing him.
New England will face the Bills on Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET. The first injury report leading up to the game will be released on Thursday.