“He’s frustrated obviously,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of Martin, who is fully vaccinated against the CCP virus. “But hey, this is the world we live in right now.”
In the NFL, return-to-play protocols for fully vaccinated players require two negative tests at least 24 hours apart after being symptom-free for 48 hours.
With Martin likely out, the Cowboys will again be without one of their top three offensive linemen after the trio never played together in 2020.
Third-year pro Connor McGovern, who filled in for Martin when he was sidelined by a calf injury last year, is set to replace him again for the kick-off at 8:20 p.m. ET in Tampa, Florida against the Buccaneers with seven-time champion quarterback Tom Brady.
“Zack’s our best player on our offense. I mean most runs, they coming back behind him,” Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott said, ESPN reported.
“It’s disappointing but you can’t harp on it, can’t let it be more than what it is. I mean, definitely going to miss him, definitely wish he was out there, but we still have a game to go play and we got to try and get the job done,” he continued.
Martin was limited to 10 games with a calf issue, and seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith played in just two games before a season-ending neck surgery. A hip problem that required surgery kept right tackle La’el Collins out all season.
In a statement last month, the team announced that 100 percent of the club’s coaching staff has been fully vaccinated while players’ vaccination rate is 93 percent.
So far this year, the Cowboys have had more players testing positive for the CCP virus than all of last season. The outbreak started with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn before the second-to-last preseason game against Houston.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.