Saints Receiver Emmanuel Sanders Tests Positive for Coronavirus

The New Orleans Saints will be without both of their top receivers Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Michael Thomas has been ruled out with a hamstring injury that crept up this week. in addition to his pre-existing ankle injury. And Emmanuel Sanders will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, coach Sean Payton told reporters Friday.

Sanders practiced Wednesday and Thursday. But Payton said he began experiencing symptoms of the virus on Thursday afternoon, so the Saints sent him to their doctors for an additional test, which turned up positive. He will now be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Payton, who spoke after Friday’s practice, said the team also tested about 20 other people who might have been near Sanders, and all of them tested negative. However, Payton said reserve cornerback Ken Crawley will be added to the reserve/COVID-19 list as a precaution because of their close contact.

There also were no new positive tests for the Saints from Friday’s testing, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Payton said Sanders “got this at home” and “knows exactly how he got it,” though he didn’t offer any specific details beyond that.

Sanders is now the second Saints player to test positive this season after reserve running back Dwayne Washington spent time on the reserve/COVID-19 list in training camp and early in the season. The Saints also had a false-positive test on the Saturday night before their Week 4 win at Detroit, which led to a need for backup tests at their team hotel late into the night before their game.

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SOURCE: ESPN, Mike Triplett