Seven players and two assistant coaches who were quarantined on Wednesday night after Giants guard Will Hernandez tested positive for COVID-19 were cleared to return to the team facility on Friday morning.
Hernandez remained in isolation and is not expected to play in the Giants’ next game on Monday night.
His teammates, though, were cleared after their COVID-19 tests on Thursday all came back negative, which is a huge relief for the Giants who had to keep four-fifths of their starting offensive line away from the facility on Thursday.
Left tackle Andrew Thomas, center Nick Gates, and right tackle Cam Fleming had all been deemed “close contacts” of Hernandez and had been told to stay home, along with reserve offensive linemen Shane Lemieux and Spencer Pulley, practice squad lineman Chad Slade, practice squad receiver Binjimen Victor, and two assistant coaches – linebackers coach Bret Bielema and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson.
The Giants are holding virtual team meetings today as a precautionary measure, but all of those players and coaches are expected to be at practice this afternoon.
As for Hernandez, he had been asymptomatic, according to a source, which is good news. If he remains symptom-free he can technically return to the Giants once he gets two negative COVID tests at least 24 hours apart, or after 10 days have passed since his first positive test. That technically means he could be available for the Giants game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, but multiple team sources have said he is not expected to return by then.
If he develops symptoms he will be out at least 10 days, according to the NFL’s COVID protocols.
Meanwhile, Lemieux is expected to start for Hernandez at right guard on Monday night.