Last Friday, Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, ruling him out of the Cowboys game last week. With the Cowboys playing on Thanksgiving in Week 12, is Cooper playing today against his former franchise, or will we have to wait until next week to see the star WR?
Is Amari Cooper playing today against the Las Vegas Raiders?
Cooper was the latest in a string of high-profile NFL players to test positive for COVID-19. The time frame that players miss when they test positive has varied wildly. The situation with Cooper is somewhat simple, however, as the WR is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Unvaccinated players must undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine period, meaning Cooper cannot return to the team until early in Week 13. That means Cooper will not be able to play against the team that drafted him this week. It will be the first time since 2017 that Cooper has missed more than one game in any given season and the first time he has missed consecutive weeks.
Would Cooper have been available in Week 12 had he been vaccinated?
This is an extremely tough thing to judge. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated in his weekly radio appearance on 105.3 The Fan that, had he been vaccinated, Cooper would likely have been able to play against the Chiefs.
That is somewhat surprising given the time frame for other vaccinated players to return following a positive COVID test. Ben Roethlisberger and Nick Chubb were both vaccinated, yet they remained in the NFL COVID protocol for around a week before returning.
Vaccinated players have to receive two consecutive negative COVID tests at least 24 hours apart before returning. We do not know when Cooper tested positive, but he was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. Therefore, the assumption is that he either tested positive Thursday evening or Friday morning.
Furthermore, ignoring Jones’ statement around the Week 11 game, it would have been a tight time frame for Cooper to return for the Week 12 Thanksgiving game. He would have had to test negative twice this week and be cleared by the Cowboys’ medical team ahead of the game against the Raiders.
An injury to CeeDee Lamb has hampered the Cowboys
The statement “when it rains, it pours” adequately describes the Cowboys’ WR situation heading into Week 12. With Cooper already out, the Cowboys have had uncertainty around the availability of CeeDee Lamb heading into Thanksgiving.
Lamb left the Cowboys’ Week 11 game with a head injury and was placed into the concussion protocol. It is normally quite difficult for a player to recover and proceed through the protocol on a short week. Lamb has been ruled out for the Cowboys’ Week 12 game after failing to clear the concussion protocol.
With Cooper absent, Michael Gallup will almost certainly start in Week 12 after returning from the IR in Week 10. He played 94% of the offensive snaps in Week 11 with Cooper absent and Lamb leaving during the game. Gallup saw 10 targets last week and should be heavily targeted by Prescott in the Cowboys’ Week 12 game.
If Lamb cannot play, Cedrick Wilson is expected to start in his place. Wilson played 63% of the snaps last week and could be in line to get close to 90% this week. The other WR options on the Cowboys’ depth chart are Noah Brown, Malik Turner, and Simi Fehoko. Brown played 64% of the offensive snaps in Week 11 and drew the start in place of Cooper. Turner played on 12% of the offensive snaps.