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Giants coach Joe Judge: Saquon Barkley came out of Week 1 healthy

Saquon Barkley #26 of the Giants runs the

Saquon Barkley #26 of the Giants runs the ball on the first play of the game against Shelby Harris #96 of the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Saquon Barkley didn’t produce a lot of positives on the field Sunday. The one that stood out? That he did nothing to jeopardize his chances of being back on the field with the Giants on Thursday.

That’s what Joe Judge said on Monday, the day after Barkley made his 2021 debut after missing nearly all of the previous season with a torn ACL. Barkley managed just 26 rushing yards on 10 carries and played 29 offensive snaps against Denver, but emerged from the contest apparently healthy enough to take on the short turnaround before the Week 2 game in Washington.

"From all accounts he came out of the game good for us," Judge said. "I didn’t see any setbacks [Sunday] and didn’t get any reports or anything medically on him… Our intention is to keep on progressing with this guy throughout the season unless there is some kind of setback."

Barkley was projected as a limited participant on Monday’s injury report, the same status he held throughout all of last week, and an indication that he is none the worse for his return to action.

With the injury seemingly overcome, the next step becomes getting Barkley back to the level he is accustomed to playing. That will take more than just him.

"We have to run the ball better," center Nick Gates said. "Sometimes there was a hole and [Barkley] missed it but sometimes there was no hole and he tried to make a play. We have to give him a little bit of something. He;s been out for a whole year so he has to regain his confidence in us and get running the ball again and get comfortable back there."

That, ultimately, is what Sunday was about for Barkley. Not getting him in the end zone (although that certainly would have been nice), but just getting him in the game… and getting him out of it healthy.

"The emphasis was getting this guy out there, getting his feet wet," Judge said. "He hasn’t had the opportunity to play in the preseason, obviously hasn’t played since last year, so the focus was getting him out there, letting him get going, get in the sync of playing the game. It was the first time he was under live fire with truly getting tackled from all different angles, so it was good and encouraging to see him out there."

And even more encouraging to see him come back.

Notes & quotes: Playing on a short week requires some multitasking. Gates said he was receiving a massage while conducting his media availability via Zoom on Monday … LB Cam Brown (hamstring) was the only Giant to suffer an injury Sunday worthy of placing him on the injury report Monday. The rest of the report, which is an estimation since the Giants were not on the field Monday, included TE Evan Engram (calf) and G Shane Lemieux (knee) as fellow non-participants and Barkley (knee) as limited.

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