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Tuesday October 19th, 2021 2:32PM

The Latest: Dolphins optimistic Fitzpatrick is isolated case

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores expressed optimismy about the likelihood quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s coronavirus infection is an isolated case within the team.

“We’ve taken every precaution,” Flores said Friday. “We’ve followed the protocols. As far as close contacts, we’re in good shape from that standpoint.”

Fitzpatrick went on the reserve-COVID-19 list Thursday and is expected to miss the regular-season finale at Buffalo on Sunday, when Miami will try to clinch an AFC wild-card berth. Every player on the active roster practiced Thursday and Friday, an indication none was identified as a high-risk close contact with Fitzpatrick.

Rookie Tua Tagovailoa will start his ninth game in a row Sunday, and veteran Jake Rudock signed Thursday as the new backup quarterback.

Fitzpatrick came off the bench in the fourth quarter last week to rally Miami to an improbable win at Las Vegas. He’s now sidelined on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time in his 16-year career.

“He’s a big part of the team,” Flores said. “It’s disappointing for him more than anything. I know how important this team is to him. We’ll just push forward and give our best effort on Sunday.”

Receivers DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant, guard Solomon Kindley and linebacker Shaq Lawson are all questionable for the Bills games.

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Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. will not play against Phoenix on Friday night because of the NBA’s coronavirus protocols.

There’s no timetable for his return and he could miss multiple games because of contact tracing.

Porter is second on the team in scoring with a 19.5-point average. He was a first-round pick out of Missouri in the 2018 NBA draft. He sat out his first season because of back issues.

Porter earned All-Bubble, second-team honors when play resumed over the summer in Florida. The Nuggets made it to the Western Conference finals before being eliminated by the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.

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The Buffalo Bills have activated three players from their reserve-COVID-19 list: wide receiver John Brown, safety Josh Thomas and running back Christian Wade. Thomas and Wade are back on the practice squad.

Brown, who led the Bills in yards receiving last year, missed one game on the COVID-19 list and the previous four on injured reserve with a knee issue. He’s been limited to playing eight games after also hurting his ankle earlier this season.

Brown’s return coincides with wideout Cole Beasley's status being uncertain due to a knee injury sustained in the fourth quarter against New England on Monday night. The Bills host Miami on Sunday and already have clinched the AFC East title.

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The Cleveland Browns have reopened their facility and will practice after a succession of COVID-19 interruptions this week.

The team will be without several players, including top cornerback Denzel Ward, on Sunday when the Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers. A win puts Cleveland in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2002.

The Browns did not have any new positive COVID-19 tests on Friday, and after getting league approval, they will practice indoors at 1 p.m. They canceled practice Thursday and kept their building closed to determine whether there was a virus outbreak.

To this point, they’ve only practiced for one hour on the field as they prepare for their biggest game in years.

Last week, the Browns played without their four leading receivers and lost to the New York Jets. Those players, who were ruled out as high-risk close contacts, were activated Thursday and are expected to play Sunday.

Cleveland will be without Ward, starting linebacker B.J. Goodson, safety Andrew Sendejo and tight end Harrison Bryant when it faces Pittsburgh, which will sit starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and others so they’re rested for the playoffs.

The Steelers beat the Browns 38-7 in their previous matchup this season

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New York Giants offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo has tested positive for COVID-19.

The team said Friday he was immediately isolated, as were two unidentified potential close contacts.

Coach Joe Judge said the contacts were staff and coaches, not players. Assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson will handle the line Sunday when the Giants (5-10) host the Dallas Cowboys (6-10). Both teams have a chance to win the NFC East if Washington (6-9) loses at Philadelphia on Sunday night.

DeGuglielmo was able to work with the line virtually in a morning walk-through, Judge said.

DeGuglielmo joined the Giants in midseason and was promoted to offensive line coach when Marc Colombo was fired.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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