The Los Angeles Chargers have placed left tackle Rashawn Slater on the reserve/COVID-19 list, with an AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs looming on Thursday.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Slater tested positive Monday morning but still could play Thursday if he tests negative twice in a 24-hour span.
Slater, the 13th overall pick out of Northwestern in April's draft, has been instrumental in protecting quarterback Justin Herbert this season. If he is unavailable Thursday, it would be a huge loss for the Chargers. Slater is the only player on the Chargers' offense who has played all 838 offensive snaps. If he is unable to play, Trey Pipkins III, Storm Norton or Matt Feiler would be the options at left tackle.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen is expected to be ready for the Chiefs game, after testing positive and spending the past week in league protocols, Staley said Sunday. Allen and backup center Scott Quessenberry, who also tested positive last week, remained on the COVID-19 list Monday.
Slater is the 10th Chargers player since the start of November to land on the list.
The NFL had 37 total positive COVID-19 tests Monday, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. For perspective, the NFL had 72 confirmed positive tests (43 staff, 29 players) during the most recent two-week reporting period of Nov. 14-27.
The Chargers face the added challenge of a short turnaround this week, coming off a 37-21 win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
Staley arranged for his team to begin its physical recovery immediately after the game, with players whisked into a separate room off the locker room filled with ice tubs and massage tables and people to help "flush" them.
Defensive end Joey Bosa said Monday that he usually goes through that routine after games but that this was a teamwide effort that got everyone thinking about getting better quickly.
"This is the best I have felt going into a Thursday night game," he said, attributing it mainly to the numerous three-and-outs and limited reps against the Giants in addition to the instant recovery treatment.
Bosa also said Monday that Staley made the right decision to keep him out of the Chargers' 41-22 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 5 after he took a hit to the head. Bosa, who had two concussions last year, said he wanted to return but acknowledged that in the long term, he needs to think carefully about those hits because of the "possibility I might have to retire." He added that he's not thinking about that possibility right now.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.