Why Trevor Lawrence Could Stand on the Clemson Sideline But Couldn't Play

Saturday evening, the Clemson Tigers faced off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a double-overtime thriller. Starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence missed his second game of the season after testing positive for COVID-19, but he was back on the sidelines. Fans saw him standing by with a mask on and immediately asked why he was healthy enough to join his teammates but not enough to suit up.

Lawrence couldn't suit up because there were multiple tests he had to undergo to determine that there aren't any lasting effects from the coronavirus. The ACC has a three-part testing protocol that evaluates myocarditis symptoms — inflammation of the heart muscle — and other cardiovascular issues. Additionally, there are a couple of days where Lawrence would get reacclimated to the team.

"He's doing great," head coach Dabo Swinney said, following the Boston College game, per ESPN. "[He] Zoomed the team last night, [and I] talked to him this morning, feels like he can play today. He's doing well, but obviously, there's protocol. He will be out in time to play [against the University of Notre Dame], but you have the cardiac part of it.

"You have to ramp back up; even if he feels great, he could probably go play; he's not allowed to do that simply because of the protocols. They're put in place to make sure he could return to play safely. You have 10 days, and then you have the cardiac part, so he won't be able to get through that in time to play next week."

When Lawrence originally tested positive for the coronavirus, freshman DJ Uiagalelei stepped into the starting lineup. Despite his relative inexperience, he found success against Boston College, completing 30 of his attempted 41 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He then prepared for a difficult test in primetime against the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.


Uiagalelei continued to show his playmaking ability on Saturday night. He completed 29 of his attempted 44 passes and threw two touchdowns. He added another rushing touchdown. The freshman didn't lead his team to victory, but he showed that Clemson has a capable backup in case of emergency, as well as a promising option for the future.

Now that the waiting period is over, Lawrence is now eligible to return to the starting lineup. He will suit up for a key battle against the Florida State Seminoles. The ACC game will take place on Nov. 21.