Sports

Gophers cancel Northwestern game because of 47 COVID-19 cases

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The Gophers recreation in opposition to Massive Ten West-leading Northwestern set for Saturday is a no-go.

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The soccer workforce will miss a second-consecutive recreation whereas coping with a COVID-19 outbreak that has affected 47 gamers and employees, per an athletics division announcement. That is the biggest unfold within the Massive Ten to this point, with earlier workforce shutdowns at Wisconsin and Maryland peaking at 30 circumstances. Ohio State and Michigan are additionally at present paused with COVID-19 points, however the extent of the unfold is unclear.

In all, 21 Gophers gamers and 26 employees have examined optimistic since Nov. 19.

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“There’s not rather a lot we are able to do about it. No one’s doing something fallacious,” Gophers coach P.J. Fleck advised KFAN on Monday morning. ” … We have had 18,000 optimistic circumstances over a two-day span not too long ago in Minnesota. So I imply, it is undoubtedly affecting the NFL, it is affecting faculty soccer and undoubtedly affecting our soccer workforce.”

Below Massive Ten guidelines, the Gophers/Northwestern recreation goes down as a “no contest” for each groups, simply as final week’s Gophers/Wisconsin recreation did. The Gophers (2-3) have one common season recreation remaining on their schedule, a Dec. 12 journey to Nebraska, adopted by a to-be-determined ninth recreation Dec. 19, deliberate as an East division matchup primarily based on the standings.

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Fleck mentioned on the radio broadcast the workforce intends to play the Nebraska recreation, having already centered its (digital) workforce conferences on that opponent. Fleck added the workforce has no set return date for observe, as a substitute counting on the division’s medical workforce for the go-ahead. Even as soon as the workforce has clearance, although, it must endure a ramp-up interval earlier than endeavoring on full-scale coaching.

The Gophers have not practiced since simply earlier than the Nov. 20 Purdue recreation, after they missed 22 gamers from a mix of COVID-19 and accidents. A few of these optimistic exams have been from weeks in the past with gamers nonetheless sitting out the obligatory 21 days for isolation, cardiac testing and restoration, per Massive Ten coverage. However the workforce then paused workforce actions the night of Nov. 23 earlier than formally shutting down the subsequent day when 9 gamers and 6 employees examined optimistic from Nov. 19-23.

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One other 10 extra positives from three gamers and 7 employees got here again Nov. 25. Then the division introduced eight extra gamers and 7 employees this previous Saturday. Gamers spent Thanksgiving principally separated from the workforce and household, some sharing meals by way of Zoom or FaceTime with their place teams and coaches.

Fleck mentioned he is not sure of how the outbreak began and unfold inside his workforce, although it might have been a mix of things akin to dwelling in a metropolitan group and colder climate forcing indoor gathering.

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“These are student-athletes. They reside in dorms. They’re round 55,000 different college students in some way, someway, even when class is digital,” Fleck mentioned on KFAN, including he did all the pieces he might to create an artificial bubble round his workforce however knew some form of outbreak was doubtless inevitable.

Of the 47 circumstances, although, Fleck mentioned most have exhibited gentle signs with no severe problems but. He mentioned the entire workforce is dissatisfied to overlook video games, particularly lots of the latest optimistic gamers, who will doubtless miss the Nebraska recreation as effectively due to the prolonged sit-out interval.

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“Our gamers are chomping on the bit to have the ability to get a possibility to get again on the market,” Fleck mentioned on the radio. “However in addition they perceive folks searching for them.”

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