The Cardinals had gone their longest stretch of time without having any player on the reserve/COVID-19 list since wide receiver A.J. Green was activated Nov. 10.
That changed when running back Jonathan Ward was placed on reserve Tuesday after testing positive for the virus. Ward has been out since suffering a concussion in the Thursday night game against Green Bay on Oct. 28.
Ward was one of five players in the NFL that went on the COVID list Tuesday after 10 were placed on reserve Monday. The month of November saw a significant spike in positive tests league-wide from September and October.
In September, there were 32 players placed on reserve with 26 positive tests and six high-risk contracts. For October, the totals were 24 and five. Now that November is over, the figures for the month are 79 positives and three high-risk contacts.
In comparison, as of Nov. 28, 2020, there were 155 positive tests in the NFL. This year, through November, there have been 225 positives.
Ward becomes the 23rd Cardinals player to be placed on reserve/COVID-19 since training camp opened. With three players on the list twice, this is the 26th instance of a Cardinals player going on the COVID list.
In other roster moves, the Cardinals released long snapper Kyle Nelson from the practice-squad injured list. Nelson was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 10 after Aaron Brewer suffered a broken forearm against the 49ers, but suffered a knee injury in his first practice with the team.
That resulted in the Cardinals signing long snapper Beau Brinkley to the practice squad two days before the Nov. 14 game against Carolina. He has played in two games, but had some errant snaps in the Nov. 21 win over Seattle. Brewer will be eligible to be designated for return from reserve/injured after Sunday’s game against the Bears
Brinkley was one of four practice-squad players protected by the Cardinals Tuesday. That prevents those players from being signed to a team’s active roster this week.
The other players protected are cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Jace Whittaker and linebacker Tahir Whitehead. The Cardinals have only four cornerbacks currently on their active roster: Byron Murphy Jr., Marco Wilson, Robert Alford and Antonio Hamilton.
Protecting two cornerbacks leads to suspicion that there could be undisclosed injuries affecting the position or it could simply be for possible depth on special teams if either Peterson or Whittaker are elevated for Sunday’s game.