It has been a long layoff for AJ Dillon. The Green Bay Packers’ rookie running back has been out for over a month after a positive test for COVID-19 landed him on the reserve/COVID list following Green Bay’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings in week 8.
Dillon in fact received his test result on the day after that game, which indicated a positive test on the morning of gameday. Following his result, the Packers placed two players on the reserve list as high-risk close contacts — Jamaal Williams and Kamal Martin — though both returned within a few days after evidently being cleared.
On Thursday, the Packers returned Dillon to the active roster from the COVID list, as he has evidently recovered from his bout with the condition and has cleared the NFL’s protocols. Dillon was practicing with the team today and the Packers announced his return to the 53-man roster later on this afternoon.
Whenever Dillon is ready to play — it may not be until a week from Sunday if the team decides to work him back in cautiously — the Packers will have their preferred three-man rotation at tailback. The Packers have not had their full running back group consisting of Dillon, Williams, and Aaron Jones all active since week six, as Jones missed the Packers’ week 7 and week 8 games with an injury.
Dillon will likely be needed in that reserve role as well, as he replaces Tyler Ervin as the third running back on the roster. Ervin landed on injured reserve this week, though wide receiver Tavon Austin will likely fill in for his primary roles running jet motion on offense and returning punts and kicks. In the event that Dillon cannot play against Detroit on Sunday, look for practice squad running back Mike Weber to again get a call-up for gameday.
In his seven games this season, Dillon has carried the football 23 times for 97 yards, adding one reception for 16 yards.