How long is Nick Saban out? Alabama coach to miss Iron Bowl, more after positive COVID-19 test

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How long is Nick Saban out? Alabama coach to miss Iron Bowl, more after positive COVID-19 test 1

For the second time in 2020, Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19.

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Well, not exactly. Saban, who tested positive for the disease on Nov. 24, produced a false positive earlier this year ahead of the Georgia game. Saban returned quickly after showing no symptoms and testing negative three times. The latest test, however, confirmed Saban wouldn’t coach in Saturday’s Iron Bowl against Auburn.

The news release from Alabama read: “This morning we received notification that Coach Saban tested positive for COVID-19. He has very mild symptoms, so this test will not be categorized as a potential false positive. He will follow all appropriate guidelines and isolate at home.”

Here’s what we know about how long Saban will be required to quarantine and when the Alabama head coach could potentially return to his team based on the SEC’s protocols.

MORE: Betting guide for the 2020 Iron Bowl

How long is Nick Saban out with COVID-19?

The SEC’s protocols mandate a 10-day isolation period for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and has symptoms. The SEC considers Day 0 to start at the onset of symptoms, per its protocols. The SEC’s coaches are required to undergo testing three times weekly.

For isolation to end, “At least 24 hours must have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and symptom improvement (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, etc.) has occurred, in accordance with current CDC guidance.”

The 10-day isolation meant that Saban would for sure miss the Crimson Tide’s Saturday showdown with Auburn. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian filled the interim role, leading Alabama to a 42-13 win.

The coach on Thursday confirmed he would return to the sidelines for the top-ranked Tide’s game against LSU, which was postponed from the original Nov. 14 date due to a coronavirus outbreak among the Tigers. Saban said he cleared his relatively minor symptoms after receiving an IV treatment.

“Whatever was in this plasma deal, it knocked it out in one day,” Saban told reporters. “From Thursday on, I’ve felt great and 100 percent. I would certainly recommend that treatment for anybody that could get it.”

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How did Nick Saban test positive for COVID-19 twice?

Saban’s first positive COVID-19 test result came on Oct. 14, shortly before Alabama played Georgia. Saban was asymptomatic at the time, and the SEC has protocols in place that allow for return within 72 hours if no symptoms are shown.

Three ensuing negative PCR tests for Saban meant that, by the SEC’s standards, he registered the first positive test as a false positive. This new positive test, with symptoms, suggests that the earlier positive was indeed false — the CDC writes that cases of reinfection have occurred but are rare.

Nick Saban COVID-19 news

— Nov. 21: Alabama has at least eight players miss a game against Kentucky with no injury designation given, according to TideSports.

— Nov. 25: Alabama announces that Saban has tested positive for COVID-19 and is displaying mild symptoms. He’ll have to isolate for 10 days, ensuring an absence from Saturday, Nov. 28’s Iron Bowl game against Auburn.

— Dec. 3: Saban confirms on radio show that he is “100 percent” and ready to return to coach against LSU.

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