As the Dallas Cowboys, who have lost two games in a row and three of the last four, hope to shake a drop Thursday night in New Orleans, they remain stuck in control of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still wreaking havoc within the organization. .

Beginners safety Nahshon Wright tested positive for the virus on Tuesday and he will not play against the Saints. The team now has nine players or staff – with coach Mike McCarthy as their chief – currently on COVID-19 protocols.

Wright disqualification makes the NFL the highest number of nine Cowboys players who will have lost a game this season due to COVID-19.

The Minnesota Vikings have had 10 players included in the COVID-19 roster since early November, but they have only had eight players who have lost games this season. They are expected to match nine of the Cowboys with their game on Sunday.

In terms of total games lost due to COVID-19, the Vikings lead with 14, the Arizona Cardinals are next with 12 and the Cowboys are at 10, according to Howard Balzer from Sport Illustrated who has held a total since the start of the season.

Making the challenge even more frustrating for the Cowboys is that receiver Amari Cooper, who is one of only two unvaccinated players on the team and who has missed the last two games with COVID-19, may not yet be available for the match. Thursday in New Orleans. .

McCarthy said Cooper is still experiencing a cough and the team will be careful. He did not train on Monday or Tuesday and if he does not train on Wednesday, he will not play on Thursday.

Even if he plays, he will be limited due to lack of conditions after so much time lost.

McCarthy said the situation in the Cowboys brings home the importance of vaccinations to the Cowboys and the community.

“Obviously we understand the professional obligation to commit to what we are trying to do as a football team and I think that is one of the things that is part of that commitment,” McCarthy said. “It’s a health focus. Trust me, you don’t want to take it to remind yourself how important personal health is. Vaccination is definitely a big component in this, as a society and as a football team trying to keep growing and overcoming this.

“I think our boys are doing a good job with protocols, but what we are going through now is that once it enters your building, it is a challenge. “And this is the war we are in.”

This fight involves six coaches and three players who so far will not make the trip to New Orleans, including McCarthy; Wright; treat Terence Steele; offensive line coach Joe Philbin; attacking assistant coach Jeff Blasko; assistant assistant coach Scott Tolzien; and strength and conditioning coaches Harold Nash, Cedric Smith and Kendall Smith.

Cedric Smith has a chance to be off the list by Thursday.

The Cowboys began intensifying their COVID-19 protocols last week with increased demand for masks among staff and players. They are holding meetings virtually. The team has also closed the weight room with all strength and air conditioning staff unavailable.

Players have to train themselves.

“It simply came to our notice then [this] “The COVID situation we are in was a space that would put the boys at greater risk, so we decided to close it,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy, who only had a sore throat on Monday, said he was experiencing more headache symptoms on Tuesday. He remains shocked by his positive test because of all the precautions he takes to stay safe.

He was actually scheduled to receive his COVID-19 booster vaccine on Friday.

The Cowboys have now had a total of 15 players and staff in the COVID-19 protocol over the past three weeks, including defender coach Skip Peete; kicker Greg Zuerlein; receiver Amari Cooper; narrow end Blake Jarwin (damaged spare); and receivers Robert Foster (coaching staff) and TJ Vasher (reserve injury / no football).

The increase in positive tests among the Cowboys is part of a wider league trend in November. Over the last 30 days there have been 74 positive tests compared to 24 in October.

Team owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys have scored well in ratings across the league on how each team is tackling the pandemic.

“We are very proud of the grades we receive,” Jones said. “I am very confident in our ability to have a protocol that limits an explosion or limits COVID that affects the team. I think we are one of the best. This has certainly been a setback. When we all withdraw from it, this COVID has no preference to honestly say how intense your defense is, I do not think. But I think – but I believe you should be vaccinated. “

Jones said the Cowboys are now “fully vaccinated by nature to receive it. We are 100% – after being vaccinated or receiving COVID.”

Cooper and line defender Keanu Neal are the only unvaccinated players on the team and both have contracted COVID-19.

According to NFL protocols, unvaccinated players who test positive and are clean will not be tested again every day for 90 days. They are still subject to daily symptom examination and weekly tests.

The nine Cowboys players who lose at least one game this season with COVID-19 are: Wright; Steel; Cooper; Zuerlein; Neal; protective skirts Bradlee Anae and Randy Gregory; and retains Brandon Knight and Zack Martin. Knight is no longer with the team.

This story was originally published 30 November 2021 14:34.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer / columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff victories, six coaches and countless controversies from the decline of dynasty teams from the 1990s to the era of the era. Tony Romo up to the Cowboys Jason Garrett trial.