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Star Browns CB Denzel Ward Out Sunday After Positive Test

Browns cornerback Denzel Ward makes a tackle.

CLEVELAND, OHIO - NOVEMBER 22: Miles Sanders #26 of the Philadelphia Eagles is brought down by Denzel Ward #21 of the Cleveland Browns during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 22, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Cleveland Browns will officially be without star cornerback Denzel Ward for this Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ward tested positive for COVID-19 and has been placed on the team's Reserve/COVID list, the team announced this afternoon. As a result, he'll have to sit out at least 10 days.

It's obviously not ideal that Ward will have to miss Week 17, but depending on when he clears protocol, he might not be eligible to play in Cleveland's Wild Card playoff game next weekend, assuming they qualify.

Ward has started 12 games for the Browns this season, recording 46 tackles, 18 passes defensed and a pair of interceptions.

While the Browns placed Ward and linebacker Malcolm Smith on the Reserve/COVID-19 list today, the team activated linebacker Jacob Phillips and wide receivers Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, Jarvis Landry and Donovan Peoples-Jones after the quintet missed last week's game against the New York Jets.

Cleveland (10-5) will face a short-staffed Pittsburgh team this Sunday needing a win to clinch its first playoff berth since 2002. The Steelers are resting a number of key players, which should help the Browns, particularly if they won't have Ward and potentially others.

If the Browns lose Sunday, they can still earn a Wild Card spot if the Indianapolis Colts lose or if the Tennessee Titans lose and the Ravens and Dolphins both win.