Giants' Joe Judge optimistic about Saquon Barkley's status against Bucs coming off bye

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Saquon Barkley on field with ball in blue jersey
Saquon Barkley on field with ball in blue jersey

Coming off the bye week, Saquon Barkley is someone the Giants will be watching closely at practice as they hope he can play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.

Asked if he thinks that will happen, Giants head coach Joe Judge said he’s optimistic it will and explained why Barkley wasn't able to test himself before the bye.

“He’ll be out here today doing some stuff with us and we’ll see how that kinda builds into the rest of the week,” Judge told reporters at practice. “He lost a lot last week, not having the availability with the COVID stuff. That set him back a bit. I wouldn’t say set him back physically, but in terms of the timetable not having him ready for that game.”

Judge is referring to Barkley receiving a couple of false positive COVID-19 tests that forced him to stay home and away from his teammates while the situation was figured out.

Just before Barkley got hurt, it looked like he was finally turning the corner coming off his knee injury from last year. But in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, a “freak accident,” as Judge called it, saw Barkley step on a cornerback's foot and roll his ankle hard, causing a bad sprain.

Not having one of the best running backs in the league on the field has been a test for the Giants for the past year and a half now. Devontae Booker has done a fantastic job filling in, and Barkley hasn’t been disengaged while recovering, either.

“He’s continued to be a leader for us throughout this process,” Judge said.

“The emphasis is to keep him involved with us as a team because he’s an impact player for us on and off the field. He’s done a great job as far as leadership, staying active as a captain [being] active in captain’s meetings. Gives a lot of great insight on what’s going on in the locker room for me. A lot of pertinent feedback that I need. So he’s done a great job as far as that’s concerned.”

Will Barkley hit the ground running when he is deemed active once again? He’ll hope to do so if it is this week against a sturdy defensive front for the Bucs, who are coming off an upset loss to the Washington Football Team on Sunday.