Alabama’s Nick Saban could coach against Georgia, despite positive COVID-19 test this week. Here’s how.

Alabama coach Nick Saban has been quarantined at home after testing positive Wednesday for COVID-19, remotely assisting in the No. 2 Crimson Tide’s preparations for Saturday’s game against No. 3 Georgia.

While he has been asymptomatic, Saban could be prevented from playing any role during the game itself, according to guidelines and restrictions outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the SEC and the NCAA.

There is a way for Saban to be cleared to return to the sidelines before kickoff, however.

The SEC’s Medical Guidance Task Force created testing and quarantine protocols for asymptomatic cases that would allow an individual “to return to athletic activities” in as quickly as three days from the initial positive test.

According to the guidelines, an asymptomatic positive result would be followed less than 24 hours later by a second test. If that test is positive, “this will confirm an active COVID-19 infection.”

If the second test is negative, the individual would take an additional two tests at least 24 hours apart. If all three tests come back negative, the individual can resume normal behavior under a surveillance testing program.

In Saban’s case, a positive test Wednesday would need to be followed by a negative result Thursday, another negative Friday and then a third before Saturday night. Whether he has since tested negative is unknown, however.

Saban has been tested for COVID-19 twice since his original positive test on Wednesday. (Athletics director Greg Byrne also tested positive). While the results of those tests are not known, Alabama is working with the SEC on Saban clearing protocol to return to the sidelines in time for Saturday's game, if the tests are negative, a person familiar with the situation told the Tuscaloosa News on Friday.

The person requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly since the school has not made an official announcement.  

The CDC suggests that individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should remain in isolation and “stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.” This includes individuals who are asymptomatic.

According to NCAA rule 1-11-4-b, “voice communication” among coaching staffs is limited “between the press box and the team area,” eliminating the option of having Saban serve as Alabama’s head coach from either his home or a suite within Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian will serve as the temporary head coach during Saban’s absence, the school said Wednesday.

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Nick Saban tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced Wednesday. (Photo: Kent Gidley, USA TODAY Sports)

In an accepted interpretation of this rule, the limitations would broaden to also prohibit using computers or other technology to bypass the ban on voice communication.

This ban would begin 90 minutes before kickoff, or roughly 6:30 p.m. ET, until the officiating crew “declares the score final.”

In questioning the rule, Saban said on his radio show Thursday that “there ought to be a better way to do that. … I would hate to not be at the game Saturday if that’s what this turns out to be.”

Saban said he was “feeling great” but did not refer to any specific tests he had taken since Wednesday.

Alabama hasn't issued the results of testing performed on players; the school has not shared that information since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Saban said Wednesday that there has not been any indication of an outbreak among the roster. Alabama most recently played Ole Miss, which had an undisclosed number of positive tests this week.

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Last month, a positive test prevented Florida State coach Mike Norvell from coaching the Seminoles' game against Miami. Norvell's contact with his team ended when the team departed for Hard Rock Stadium, when he was replaced by assistant coach Chris Thomsen.

Kansas coach Les Miles will not travel to Saturday's game against West Virginia after testing positive and showing symptoms, the school said Friday. 

"While my 10-day isolation window has completed this morning," Miles said in a statement, "there is still too much unknown about the virus for me to feel 100 percent confident that I won't transmit it to someone who comes into close contact with me on the team charter, hotel or at the game Saturday."

Contributing: Brett Hudson, Tuscaloosa News

Follow USA TODAY Sports colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg

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