Arizona Cardinals to return 6 players from COVID-19 protocols
Six of the nine Arizona Cardinals who at the end of last week were away from the team due to COVID-19 protocols will return for practice on Monday, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
Center Rodney Hudson, guard Justin Pugh, right tackle Kelvin Beachum, plus receivers Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson and Isaac Whitney, are expected back at practice.
All of those players were placed under the protocols on Thursday.
Offensive lineman Shaq Calhoun and wideout Rico Gafford were previously placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. Cornerback Lorenzo Burns was also placed on the list a week prior.
Last Thursday, it was reported that the Cardinals had reached the 90% mark for players being vaccinated.
“We felt like it was headed in the right direction. I think our organization has done a great job presenting information,” Kingsbury said Thursday. “The NFL has done a great job presenting these guys with necessary information so these guys can make sound decisions and it’s good to see that that number has risen.”
The NFL said Thursday that league-wide, 87.9% of players have received at least one shot of the vaccine.
The wave of players stepping away from the team come as the state of Arizona has faced rising infection numbers.
After two consecutive todays of reporting over 2,000 new COVID-19 cases, Arizona health officials reported 1,846 cases Monday.
The state dashboard reported only one new virus-related death, bringing the pandemic death toll to 18,252 and the number of cases to 931,387.
The number of hospitalizations from the virus are also continuing on an alarming upward trajectory. As of Sunday, 1,169 people were hospitalized statewide, the highest number since early March.
Public health officials in the state and elsewhere attribute the worsening spread to the very contagious delta variant and low vaccination rates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.