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Swinney Updates Clemson's Injury, Protocol Policy

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney unveils his program's plan on updating injuries and protocols: available or unavailable to play each week in 2020.

Without a true policy like the NFL, injury information can be hard to find in college football. 

In 2020, it's likely to get even more difficult to discern with COVID-19 protocols, quarantines and contact tracing tossed into the mix. At Clemson, expect to see new listings on its weekly injury report: available and unavailable, head coach Dabo Swinney announced Thursday. 

"We’re going to have guys day-to-day, week-to-week battling some injuries," Swinney said. "We’re going to have some guys that are on the COVID protocol, whether they had it or quarantined or close contact...we’re just going to try to keep it simple."

For years, Clemson has released a Thursday report before each week's game that typically listed players, their injury and whether they were probable, doubtful or out, similar to what the NFL uses. 

That's not a uniform policy across conferences, much less all of college football, but when it pertains to serious injuries, Swinney will continue to provide information, although a true injury report won't be given by Clemson Athletics this season. 

"I’ve always been transparent and honest when it comes to these injuries and stuff," Swinney said. "I’ll continue to do that, especially when there are long-term injuries. But this is a very unique year and there's going to be guys that are available and unavailable for different reasons. I just think that’s the way to go about it. 

"That’s what most everybody else is doing to do. It doesn’t make sense for me to release an injury report or on Wednesdays or something like that, so we’ll just fall in line there. We may have guys become unavailable on a Friday. I don’t know, so that’s how we’ll do it."

Swinney's right. Clemson and other ACC schools, which are playing 10 conference games and one non-league contest, will be testing throughout the week, including Sundays following Saturday games. The ACC's Medical Advisory Group is in charge of working with team doctors across the conference to make sure they obtain accurate testing information and share it with opponents each week. 

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At Clemson, where testing has ramped up with fall-sport competitions beginning next week, the athletic department announced Friday that out of 677 tests during its "latest round of surveillance of student-athletes and staff," 18 individuals (14 players) across five sports tested positive (2.66 percent). 

Since it's not released by sport, it's unknown how affected the football team is heading into Sept. 12's opener at Wake Forest. 

"We’re still in a good spot. Guys are doing what they need to do," Swinney said when asked Thursday about the COVID-19 health status of his team. "Really proud of our group. We’ve kept things mitigated very, very well. We can do all of that, but at the end of the day, they have to buy into what they need to do."

Clemson, which had 37 football players officially announced as positive tests for COVID-19 back in June, has seen its numbers come way down and was completely coronavirus-free last week. 

As for injuries on the field, Swinney updated a couple of players Thursday. Starting defensive end Justin Foster "hasn't missed a day of practice," but he has been limited, Swinney said. He hopes to get Foster back in full soon. 

Tight End Luke Price suffered a torn ACL and will miss the entire season. 

As for injuries that occur each week during the season, how much detail is given will be at Swinney's discretion, but it's not something he's planning on updating each day.

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