The Chicago Bears placed the veteran running back Damien Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday.

If he is asymptomatic and is vaccinated, he would be able to return once he produces two negative tests 24 hours apart.

If he is vaccinated and develops symptoms, he would be able to return once he produces two negative tests 24 hours apart and is asymptomatic for 48 hours. If he is unvaccinated, he would have to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.

This is very problematic for the Bears as the timing of Williams going on the reserve/COVID-19 list leaves them without one more player. The Bears are already without their top running back, David Montgomery, who is on the injured reserve with a sprained knee.

In his first season with the Bears, Williams rushed for 137 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries and caught 10 passes for 61 yards in the first five games. Williams signed with the Bears in March after opting out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns. Before that, he appeared in 85 games with 13 starts over six seasons with the Dolphins and Chiefs.

The Bears have succeeded on the ground ─ even without Montgomery ─ in last week’s 20-9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Williams rushed for 64 yards and one touchdown and rookie Khalil Herbert ran for 75 yards on a game-high 18 attempts.

Herbert will have an even larger role on the offense versus Green Bay if Williams is still unavailable to play on Sunday. Herbert began the year as a return man on special teams but has since transitioned to the offense as a result of Montgomery’s injury leave.

With Herbert and veteran running back Ryan Nall being the only running backs on the Bear’s active rooster since Friday, the team could introduce Artavis Pierce from the practice squad.

The Bears (3-2) will host the Green Bay Packers (4-1) in a key NFC North divisional showdown on Sunday.

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