Nick Saban posts third negative COVID-19 test, cleared to coach

Nick Saban will be on the sideline against No. 3 Georgia tonight.

After testing positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday and leaving Alabama’s facility to isolate at home, the head coach has posted three consecutive negative tests since then, which will allow him to rejoin the team and coach in the top-five matchup at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Statement from team physician Jimmy Robinson:

“Upon evaluation today, Coach Saban remains completely asymptomatic. To address the potential for a false positive, the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol allows for follow-up testing to clear the individual’s return to activity. That protocol requires three negative PCR tests 24 hours apart.

Because Coach Saban remained asymptomatic, he received PCR testing at 7 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and today through the SEC appointed lab. Each of those tests were negative and were reported via the SEC’s third-party testing provider to the conference office in Birmingham. Those three negative tests satisfied the SEC protocol for a false positive. Out of an abundance of caution, two additional PCR tests were administered at the same time on Thursday and Friday and were tested by a separate lab. Those tests were also negative.

Due to the fact that Coach Saban has remained completely symptom-free and had five negative PCR tests, split between two separate labs, the initial test from Wednesday is considered a false positive under the SEC protocols. Again, that initial positive result came from an outside lab we’ve used to supplement the SEC-mandated testing. We have been in constant communication with the conference office throughout this process to ensure compliance with all applicable protocols. In accordance with the SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Protocol and with the approval of The University of Alabama System Health and Safety Task Force, Coach Saban is medically cleared to safely return to activity effective immediately.”

Saban, himself, has reiterated he has shown no symptoms and has “never been sick at all.”

Appearing on ESPN’s College GameDay earlier Saturday morning, Saban explained why he is comfortable with the negative test results after a surprising positive test on Wednesday.

“We tested players every day for the last several months,” said Saban during an interview on College GameDay. “The fact that we’ve had 240 tests in the last two days were all negative, not one positive. The fact that I actually tested negative Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. Wednesday it popped. Thursday, Friday, negative. I have to trust in the doctors and the medical people who make these protocols safe for all of us.

“Our players have done a good job of practicing social-distancing, and I think this experience has certainly made me have a lot of respect for what we should do, all of us, relative to social-distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands, staying apart and we’re gonna continue to do that in the future.”

The highly-anticipated Alabama-Georgia matchup will kick off at 7 p.m. CT on CBS. 

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