Giants’ Joe Judge: Saquon Barkley return set back after COVID-19 test

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The COVID-19 testing information that is bouncing off the walls at the New York Giants’ training facility in East Rutherford these days is very confusing.

Several players have tested positive for the virus via the rapid test, yet PCR results have shown several of them as negative.

The team issued this memo on Thursday morning:

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.

One of the players involved is running back Saquon Barkley, who many thought might be able to return this week from the ankle injury he sustained in the Giants’ Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

But, since Barkley tested positive on Wednesday, he can be taken of the COVID list with two more negative results in back-to-back days. Then, there still is the issue of the ankle.

Head coach Joe Judge says the team won’t eliminate the possibility of Barkley playing on Sunday, but admits the COVID-19 testing issue has set him back.

“I know a lot of times we have to see how they really move and not having [Barkley] available to be here with the trainers on a regular basis and kind of seeing if we can get him into practice, I would say that’s something 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 told reporters.

“Again, we’ll see where he’s at. I would say with all these tests, all but one has come back as negative. We’ re actually getting a lot of players back who tested positive [Thursday] morning and then re-tested negative that we’re getting back in before practice.”

Barkley, rookie running back Gary Brightwell and safety Xavier McKinney did not practice on Thursday as all three were still in the COVID protocol. Barkley also had an injury designation because of the ankle. Until he gets back on the practice field that will continue.