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Wisconsin football: with COVID-19 cases down, UW begins regular game week practice on Monday [UPDATE]

All signs point toward Wisconsin being able to play Michigan on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Illinois at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers football team has not played for the last two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the team. After starting up conditioning drills in small groups on Friday and Saturday, UW is now starting off this week with regular game week preparation before this weekend’s prime time tilt with the Michigan Wolverines.

Here is the full statement:

The Wisconsin football team began its regular game week preparations on Monday morning. The team is scheduled to practice each day this week in anticipation of Saturday’s scheduled game at Michigan but UW Athletics will continue to monitor the program’s COVID-19 testing results closely to determine the team’s activities moving forward.

The football program currently has five active COVID-19 cases, two student-athletes and three staff members. Since Nov. 2, one staff member and one student-athlete have tested positive. Five of the last six days have yielded no positive cases.

“We had no new positives on Tuesday and Wednesday which was a great sign,” UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said. “That’s when we started thinking Friday could be a day we could get the team together to start doing things with an eye towards having a regular practice week this week. So we were cautious on Friday and Saturday, split guys into groups, and just did conditioning. The team then got together and held its regular Monday practice this morning.

“We feel confident that we have a handle on the situation and are excited to play this week at Michigan. As we have done throughout, we will continue to monitor our testing results and base our decision on those results.”

The Badger football team first paused team activities on Oct. 28 and its scheduled games at Nebraska on Oct. 31 and home vs. Purdue on Nov. 7 were canceled.

Paul Chryst will be available to the media at 12:30 p.m. CT Monday (aka today) via Zoom which we will be covering live.

UPDATE, Monday 12:53 p.m. CST:

  • Here are some highlights from Chryst’s media availability. He wouldn’t say whether or not Graham Mertz was going to be the starter on Saturday, but it seems like it’ll be a prep time decision and not a COVID decision.
  • As the only officially confirmed cases, it was nice to hear that Chryst is feeling better.
  • While there was obviously no depth chart released, Chryst notes that there may be a few surprises in there if one is released for this week.