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Giants’ Saquon Barkley “close” to being cleared to play vs. Denver Broncos, per report

Final decision expected to come toward the end of the week

NFL: Cleveland Browns Training Camp Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It is appearing more and more likely that the New York Giants will have star running back Saquon Barkley available on Sunday when they open their 2021 NFL season against the Denver Broncos.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Barkley is “gearing up to play” and the he is “close” to being cleared for action vs. the Broncos, and that the Giants are expected to monitor Barkley through practice on Thursday before making a final decision.

Barkley suffered his injury on Week 2 of last season, Sept. 20 to be exact. Barkley came off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on Aug. 9, and has steadily been ramping up his workload since then.

Though reporters were not allowed to see team portions of practice on Thursday, Barkley was said to have taken contact from defenders for the first time during that practice. What form that took is unknown, but Barkley said post-practice that he “took some good shots.”

Barkley said that playing or not playing against the Broncos will not be his decision.

“This whole process I’ve been a team player listening to the doctors, listening to the coaches, listening to the trainers knowing that they have my best interest at heart,” Barkley said. “Whatever they feel that is best for me and best for the team, I’m willing to do.”

Head coach Joe Judge said last week that the Giants wanted to watch Barkley this week to “see how his body responds and where he’s at” before making a determination on Sunday.

Where the Giants obviously hope Barkley will be Sunday is on the field trying to help the Giants win a football game.