A misunderstanding of COVID procedure has spelled trouble for New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. He has remained away from the team until Thursday due to tests “conducted away from NFL facilities,” the club announced Monday.

Newton’s absence comes after he traveled to a Patriots-approved medical appointment that required him to leave the New England region, according to the team’s statement. “He received daily Covid tests, which were all negative. Due to a misunderstanding about tests conducted away from NFL facilities, and as required by the NFL-NFLPA protocols, Cam will be subject to the five-day entry cadence process before returning to the facility,” the statement read.

Although coach Bill Belichick has tentatively named Newton the starter, backup quarterback Mac Jones has been sensational and getting first-team reps will only push him closer to the starting gig.

Newton had taken No. 1 reps throughout training camp until Monday. He started both preseason games and is 12-of-16 passing for 152 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has played a total of 29 snaps. Jones has been the No. 2 quarterback, coming in behind Newton at practice and in the first two preseason games. He is 26-of-38 passing for 233 yards, with no touchdowns and interceptions, over two preseason games. He has played 77 snaps.

Newton has continued to participate virtually in team activities but missed practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Wednesday practice is the first of two with the New York Giants in Foxborough.

Veteran safety Devin McCourty, a longtime Patriots captain who filmed a public service announcement about vaccinations with fellow captain Matthew Slater, was asked about vaccinations Monday as it relates to Newton’s status. “I think I’ve said it to a lot to guys, and the little video me and Slate did — vaccinations is a personal decision. That’s up to each individual,” he said. “And as far as how the team views that, and how we go forward, that’s a Bill Belichick question. I feel like he would tee that up, and knock that out of the park. So I’m going to leave that for Bill and let him handle that.”

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