Kamara on COVID-19 list, will miss Panthers game, could miss Saints’ playoff opener

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) breaks free past Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (27), outside linebacker Eric Wilson (50) and defensive end D.J. Wonnum (98) on a 40 year touchdown carry in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Brett Duke)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have placed running back Alvin Kamara, who leads the club in both yards rushing and receiving, on their COVID-19 reserve list.

The move means Kamara is unavailable for Sunday’s regular-season finale at Carolina and also could miss the Saints’ first playoff game if New Orleans is unable to move up to the NFC’s top seed.

Kamara has 932 yards and 16 TDs rushing to go with 756 yards and five TDs receiving this season. His touchdowns rushing and 21 total touchdowns from scrimmage are Saints single-season records.

The transaction also comes less than a week after Kamara ran for six touchdowns and and a career-high 155 yards in a victory over Minnesota, tying an NFL record for TDs rushing in a game set by Ernie Nevers in 1929. Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers is the only other player to score six TDs in a game overall, but did so with four on the ground, one receiving and one on a punt return.

The NFL introduced a COVID-19 reserve list this season for players who either test positive for the coronavirus or are known to have been exposed to someone who has contracted the virus.

Because of Kamara’s positive test result, an entire slate of running backs have reportedly also been ruled out against the Panthers, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, each having been labeled a close contact to the All-Pro. That means the Saints will not only be without Kamara, but also Latavius MurrayDwayne Washington, Mike Burton, etc., along with running backs coach Joel Thomas.

Murray has 656 yards and four TDs rushing this season and in 2019 had 100-yard rushing performances in both games Kamara missed with leg injuries.

To capture the NFC’s top playoff seed, the Saints would need to beat Carolina and also would need Chicago to beat Green Bay and Seattle to beat San Francisco.

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