Why isn’t Trevor Lawrence playing against Notre Dame? COVID-19 protocols keep Clemson quarterback out

It’s not a surprise, but No. 1 Clemson has to take on No. 4 Notre Dame without Trevor Lawrence.

Lawrence, the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, will miss a second-straight game after testing positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 28. The star quarterback has ceded his role to freshman D.J. Uiagalelei. Lawrence could return for the Tigers’ next game, but for Clemson’s national championship aspirations to remain firm, a win against the Fighting Irish will have to come without Lawrence.

Here’s more detail about why Lawrence isn’t playing, and about what the ACC’s testing protocols say about when Lawrence can be back on the field.

Why isn’t Trevor Lawrence playing against Notre Dame?

Clemson announced on Thursday, Oct. 29, that Lawrence had tested positive for COVID-19. The ACC’s COVID-19 protocols kept him out of last Saturday’s game against Boston College and now Nov. 7’s showcase against Notre Dame, as well. The positive test came from Wednesday, Oct. 28, according to The Athletic.

Lawrence said at the time of the positive test, he was experiencing mild symptoms. He wrote on Twitter, “I’ll be watching from isolation and pulling for our guys while I wait for the opportunity to rejoin the team.”

When can Trevor Lawrence return?

The ACC’s minimum requirement for a player who tests positive for COVID-19 is a 10-day isolation period after the positive test. Lawrence’s health is the obvious first priority in this case.

By the protocols, Lawrence needs to stop showing symptoms and continue to test negative during the 10-day isolation period. There hasn’t been additional reporting on Lawrence’s symptoms or testing in the lead-up to the Notre Dame game, just Dabo Swinney’s announcement that Lawrence would be out.

Essentially, that 10-day isolation period would begin once Lawrence stopped showing symptoms, and would count forward as long as Lawrence remained healthy and tested negative. Assuming that has happened in this case, Lawrence would be able to return to practice after the Notre Dame game (which was 10 days from the positive test). Clemson has a bye week after Notre Dame, giving Lawrence time to get back into practice action before playing Florida State on Nov. 21.

Clemson backup quarterback

Clemson’s backup quarterback is freshman D.J. Uiagalelei. He started for the Tigers against Boston College and completed 30-of-41 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran six times for 25 yards and a score.

With Lawrence out, every quarterback moves up the depth chart. Uiagalelei’s new backup, while not official, is likely redshirt freshman Taisun Phommachanh. Phommachanh threw 12 passes and ran 12 times during the 2019 season for Clemson.

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