While the Baltimore Ravens are dealing with a massive injury list during week 15, their next opponents, the Green Bay Packers, are in a similar boat. On Thursday, however, the Packers saw their latest COVID-19 case pop up, likely shutting down a critical player for Sunday’s game.
That player is nose tackle Kenny Clark, the anchor in the middle of the Packers’ defensive front. Head coach Matt LaFleur announced during his Thursday press conference that Clark is headed to the reserve/COVID-19 list today, which would likely keep him out through at least Sunday.
Evidence points to Clark being vaccinated, particularly his holding of in-person press conferences without wearing a mask throughout the 2021 season. If he has indeed met the requirements to be considered fully vaccinated, Clark would be eligible to return after returning two negative COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart. However, there is very little time for that possibility to take place in time for Sunday’s game.
If Clark is not vaccinated and did indeed test positive, he would need to quarantine for at least 10 days and would be out through next Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Browns as well.
Clark’s absence will leave a massive hole in the middle of the Packers’ defense, which will deal with a strong Ravens rushing attack this week. However, quarterback Lamar Jackson’s status for the game is unclear as he is dealing with a sprained ankle. If he plays, he will likely be significantly limited in his mobility; backup Tyler Huntley is a good, mobile athlete as well, but is not the caliber of a healthy Jackson.
This week, look for the Packers to give more snaps to Clark’s backup, rookie T.J. Slaton. Jack Heflin will also likely be active on gameday to provide additional depth on the defensive line.
The positive test for Clark is the first for the Packers this week amid a huge spike in cases around the NFL. About 100 positive tests have been reported since Monday, and there could well be more coming before kickoff on Sunday afternoon. Stay tuned for more updates out of both Green Bay and Baltimore heading into the weekend.