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Saquon Barkley won't return for Giants this Sunday

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants looks

Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants looks on against the Buffalo Bills during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2019. Credit: Getty Images/Al Bello

No, it won’t be this week.

Saquon Barkley, who gave Giants fans some hope when he returned to practice on Wednesday, will not be in uniform with his team on the field Sunday when the Giants host the Vikings.

"After consulting with doctors, we decided he’s not going to play,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur told reporters after practice on Friday. “I’m encouraged because he’s going through the rehab process and making an effort to come back quickly."

Barkley was injured in Week 3 when his right ankle bent awkwardly while being tackled by Bucs safety Mike Edwards. The All-Pro running back spent the second half of that game on the sideline with a boot and crutches.

A high ankle sprain typically takes four to eight weeks to recover. So the fact that Barkley was back on the field Wednesday, just 10 days after the injury, means it might not be out of the realm of possibility that he could be ready by Thursday night when the Giants play at New England.         

Whether or not he plays then will come down to a decision from the Giants' medical staff. Barkley told reporters on Thursday that he “would not fight it” if the staff told him he could not play.

Shurmur declined to talk about what Barkley can and cannot do on the field at this point of his rehabilitation, simply saying that he took some reps this week.

"I think he’s making good progress, and when he’s ready to play we’ll put him out there,” Shurmur said.

The Giants (2-2) are clearly upbeat about the speed of their 22-year-old running back’s recovering. And can you blame them? The reigning offensive rookie of the year had more than 2,000 total yards last season. He has 237 rushing yards in the two and a half games he’s played this season before getting injured.

For the second straight week, the Giants will be looking for third-year pro Wayne Gallman to step up big in Barkley’s absence. Gallman was one of the offensive stars of the Giants’ victory against the Redskins last week. He scored their two offensive touchdowns, one rushing and receiving, ran for 63 yards and caught six passes for another 55 yards. His 118 yards from scrimmage were a career high.

The Vikings, who have the No. 6 defense in the NFL, will present a much tougher challenge than the winless Redskins did. 

"They have a good defense that we have to be prepared for,” Gallman said. “I’m doing a little bit more studying just to see how I can get better with the blitzes they bring and some of the things they have going on ...They have a lot of good players.”

Notes & quotes: The Giants' defense will be without at least two linebackers, as Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and Tae Davis (concussion) were ruled out. Lorenzo Carter (neck) is questionable.

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