On Friday morning, it appeared the Indianapolis Colts might be in danger of missing their Week 6 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, with the team quickly shutting down practice facilities following four positive COVID-19 tests inside the organization. Just hours later, however, the team has announced that all four test samples were re-examined and deemed false positives. After consultation with the NFL and the league's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, the Colts will reopen their complex Friday afternoon, resume normal preparations for Sunday's game and prepare to host the Bengals as scheduled.
"All is well," team owner Jim Irsay tweeted Friday. "Colts-Bengals, 1 p.m. Sunday!"
The Colts had begun working remotely earlier in the day after the initial announcement of positive tests, with questions quickly arising about the feasibility of their game against the Bengals occurring on Sunday. Those falsely positive cases marked the first time the team had encountered a COVID-related issue since July, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. It's unclear what caused the false positives, with ProFootballTalk speculating that multiple errors within the same batch of COVID tests speak to either "incompetence" in the testing process or outright "sabotage."
The NFL, of course, has already changed nearly a dozen teams' regular-season schedules thanks to COVID-induced delays, with the Tennessee Titans fresh off a rare Tuesday night game because of repeated postponements. The league has not, however, entertained the idea of a full-time "bubble" while combating positive cases around the league, instead opting to address COVID outbreaks on a case-by-case basis.