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Giants-Raiders injury news: Saquon Barkley OUT again, but Kenny Golladay could play

Giants might get one star back, but Barkley and Sterling Shepard won’t play

New York Giants v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Saquon Barkley will not play Sunday for the New York Giants when they host the Las Vegas Raiders. Barkley cleared COVID protocol Friday morning, but still did not practice due to the Week 5 ankle injury he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys.

This will be the fourth straight game Barkley has missed. Over the past two seasons, Barkley has now played in only seven of a possible 25 games.

The No. 2 overall pick in 2018 had a tremendous rookie season. Each of his last three seasons, though, has been seriously impacted by injuries.

The Giants will also be without wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who left Monday’s game with a quad injury. Shepard has also had a pair of hamstring injuries this season, and has played in only five games. Edge defender Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and special teamer Nate Ebner (ankle) will miss their second straight games on Sunday.

Golladay could play

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury, is listed as questionable. He as a limited participant in practice both Thursday and Friday. Golladay said Friday that he “would like to” play on Sunday.

“It depends how my body responds from a couple days back-to-back,” Golladay said.

Golladay added that he felt fortunate to have “avoided something very serious” with his knee injury.

“The amount of swelling I got in it kind of had me nervous a little bit,” Golladay said.

Signed to a four-year, $72 million contract ($40 million guaranteed), Golladay has 17 receptions this season in 29 targets.

Friday injury report

Giants

Out

RB Saquon Barkley (Ankle/Cleared COVID Protocol)
LB Lorenzo Carter (Ankle)
DB Nate Ebner (Ankle)
WR Dante Pettis (Shoulder/IR)
WR Sterling Shepard (Quad)

Questionable

RB Gary Brightwell (COVID Protocol)
WR Kenny Golladay (Knee)
WR John Ross (Quad)

Barkley, McKinney clear COVID protocol

Running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney were removed from the COVID list on Friday by the New York Giants, which means both players are allowed to return to the team’s practice facility.

Does that mean we could see Barkley play for the first time since he injured his ankle Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys? He has missed three games, and Friday will likely be the first time he practices with the team since the injury.

Head coach Joe Judge said on Thursday that he “wouldn’t eliminate” the idea of Barkley playing Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, but that he also could not give a “definitive answer.”

— More to come after the Giants practice and release their final injury report before Sunday’s game.


THURSDAY

Between ongoing COVID-19 testing issues and regular injuries, it is anyone’s guess which players will be available to play Sunday for the New York Giants when they host the Las Vegas Raiders.

“The feedback we’re getting right now from our training staff is, as we get more information, be patient. We told every player to be ready, that we expect everyone to be completely focused in and locked in and available for this game. No one has been ruled out completely as a player at this point,” head coach Joe Judge said before practice on Wednesday. “There are still some players that are going to miss practice today – not a large number. There are some players that are going to miss practice today while we’re waiting on follow-up tests and things of that nature. I’d say right now the only person who I would say is out for the game would be (running backs coach) Burton Burns.

“No one has been ruled out. We’re getting everybody ready, whether that’s virtual meetings or however we have to do it. We’ll keep everyone ready and up for the game, and when we have final answers, then we’ll go ahead and plow forward. Until we find out whether we have to test tomorrow or continuously throughout game day, I’ve told the coaches and players that everyone’s got to be ready. I’ve told the coaches, we could get to Sunday morning and they could tell us we lost a dozen people. I don’t want to hear any excuses, have the next guy ready to go, have a game plan ready that includes changing personnel, changing scheme. Whatever we have to do, be very fluid in this. That’s our job as coaches, make sure we have the best plan available regardless of who’s available.”

There was hope that running back Saquon Barkley would return this week after missing three games with an ankle injury. Since he is one of the players in the current COVID protocol Barkley has not been able to practice this week, dimming optimism that he will suit up on Sunday.

Judge was vague about Barkley.

“That’s something [Barkley playing] we wouldn’t eliminate at this point based on where he’s at physically, but I couldn’t say that it’s moving in a direction to give us a definite answer in a positive way,” Judge said.

Starting safety Xavier McKinney joined Barkley in COVID protocol for the second consecutive day. Rookie running back Gary Brightwell joined Barkley and McKinney in the protocol on Thursday. Starting left guard Matt Skura cleared the protocol and was a full practice participant.

Due to the belief that there are an unusual number of false positives resulting from rapid testing, the Giants have changed their testing protocol. Here is a statement from the team:

“As a precautionary measure, we canceled in-facility meetings for players this morning and closed our office to non-football staff. Football meetings are being conducted virtually. Players, unless their test results are still being assessed under COVID protocols, will return this afternoon for practice.

“Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRL) is experiencing an unusually high number of false positives using the Rapid Mesa Test at our facility. With the exception of one individual, all of the positive Mesa test results over the last two days have come back negative through PCR testing. The laboratory is working with experts to determine the source of the problem.

“The NFL and BRL are monitoring this situation closely. We are temporarily halting the use of the Rapid Mesa Test and administering PCR tests only.”

Kenny Golladay practices ... really!

Look, it’s a ray of sunshine for the Giants. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, out for the past three games with a knee injury, practiced for the first time on Thursday since suffering the injury Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Could Golladay play on Sunday?

“Obviously, it’s Thursday getting close to a Sunday game, but we’ll see if there’s a chance with him moving around and how he progresses throughout the day, and see if it’s realistic or not,” Judge said.

Full injury report below.

Thursday injury report

Giants

Did not practice

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle/COVID protocol)
RB Gary Brightwell (COVID protocol)
LB Lorenzo Carter (ankle)
DB Nate Ebner (ankle)
DB Xavier McKinney (COVID protocol)
WR Dante Pettis (shoulder)
TE Kyle Rudolph (not injury related /personal)
WR Sterling Shepard (quad)

Limited participation

WR Kenny Golladay (knee)
WR John Ross (quad)
TE Kaden Smith (knee)
WR Kadarius Toney (thumb)

Full participation

OL Matt Skura (cleared COVID protocol)


WEDNESDAY

Running back Saquon Barkley heads a list of three New York Giants players who did not practice on Wednesday due to COVID-19 protocol. Barkley was joined by safety Xavier McKinney and starting left guard Matt Skura.

Barkley and McKinney were both placed on the league’s Reserve/COVID-19 list. Ralph Vacchiano reports that both players tested positive for COVID-19 during Wednesday re-tests. Vacchiano adds that Barkley is vaccinated, so he simply needs two negative tests in a 24-hour period to return. McKinney’s vaccination status is unclear, possibly putting his availability for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders in jeopardy.

The Giants had 13 people test positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Among those, the only person known to test positive again on Wednesday was running backs coach Burton Burns.

“As a team, we’ve done a really good job of the guys following the protocols and staying committed to it. I think the thing that’s really shown up a lot more this year than last year is obviously with being vaccinated with the protocols being what they are, which are obviously a lot more relaxed than last year, you’ve still got to be very vigilant in terms of what you’re doing outside the building and a lot of times it comes to you,” coach Joe Judge said. “Now look, Burton Burns tested positive and the first thing he said to me is he was apologetic. He doesn’t go anywhere. Burton goes from his apartment to here. He gets on the team plane and he goes to the hotel and he doesn’t leave when he gets to the hotel, so he’s only been places with the team. As I told Burton, I said the one thing about this whole deal is you don’t have to go somewhere to get it, it can come to you. You never know where it goes.”

Judge said that the 69-year-old Burns is “active” and “involved with the players” although he cannot physically be with the team.

Ian Rapoport reported earlier on Wednesday that Barkley was among players who had tested positive. Barkley has not played for the past three games due to an ankle injury. That ankle issue is still included on the injury report. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who has missed three games with a knee injury, also did not practice.

Judge said only that Barkley and Golladay are “closer than they were last week” to getting back on the field.

Other players not practicing for the Giants on Wednesday were edge defender Lorenzo Carter (ankle), splecial teamer Nate Ebner (ankle), wide receiver Dante Pettis (shoulder) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad).

Wednesday injury report

Giants

Did not practice

Saquon Barkley (Ankle/COVID Protocol)
Lorenzo Carter (Ankle)
Nate Ebner (Ankle)
Kenny Golladay (Knee)
Xavier McKinney (COVID Protocol)
Dante Pettis (Shoulder)
Sterling Shepard (Quad)
Matt Skura (COVID Protocol)

Limited participation

Kaden Smith (Knee)
Kadarius Toney (Thumb)