Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton received the green light to start in Week 11 against the Minnesota Vikings despite not having his sense of smell or taste back after testing COVID-19.
It has been a harrowing four weeks for the veteran passer, who was originally knocked out of action in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team when he took a vicious hit to the head from linebacker Jonathan Bostic.
After he cleared concussion protocols and was ready to rejoin his team at the beginning of the month, he tested positive for COVID-19 and was sidelined for Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s been just over two weeks since his initial diagnosis and Dalton’s return to action despite not having his sense of taste and smell — which is a symptom of the virus — was obviously concerning.
However, the league provided clarification on why they gave Dalton the nod to get back on the field as the rest of the country faces another spike.
“The NFL and NFLPA medical officers, along with the independent infectious disease consultants, do not consider the loss of taste and smell to be a symptom of acute illness after the first few days,” the NFL released in a statement. “It is very common that these can be present for weeks after a COVID-19 infection. The symptom is due to direct invasion of the nasal nerve endings by the virus. Like most cranial-based nerves it takes some time to recover after any type of insult and that is why the continuation of this symptom does not mean you are still infected.”
With starting quarterback Dak Prescott done for the year due to a leg injury suffered against the New York Giants in Week 5, the Cowboys had lost four straight and six of their last seven entering Week 11 against the Vikings.
They were one game behind the Giants for second place in the NFC East and 1.5 games behind the division-leading Eagles.