Saquon Barkley can’t catch a break.
Barkley was removed from the COVID-19 list on Friday morning and was allowed to return to the Giants’ practice facility.
But the running back did not practice, and without a chance to test his injured left ankle, was ruled out of Sunday’s home game against the Raiders.
Barkley, who was injured on Oct. 10, probably could use this week and next week’s bye to completely heal. Still, the Giants had hoped to see him on the practice field and judge for themselves.
But what turned out to be a false positive COVID test — one of a slew of them among the Giants this week — conspired to keep Barkley out for a fourth straight game.
"A guy who’s been out for several weeks like that, we’d like to see him on the field and make sure we can assure how he’s moving and get out there and do it safely and stay on the field," coach Joe Judge said. "He’s assured us that he’s moving in the right direction. But again, he’s a very competitive player. He wants to be out there. He wants to be out there competing on the field with his teammates."
It appears as if all but one or possibly two of the positive tests were false.
Running backs coach Burton Burns is a confirmed positive and will miss Sunday’s game.
Safety Xavier McKinney was removed from the COVID list on Friday morning along with Barkley. But running back Gary Brightwell remained on the COVID list as of Friday afternoon and was listed as questionable. That he has not been ruled out indicates the Giants think there’s a chance he will be cleared to play.
Running back Devontae Booker, who tested positive before training camp last season with the Raiders, said seeing the entire Giants team get tested this week was a scary flashback for him.
"I’m not going to lie," he said. "I was [nervous] because they made all of us test and I’m starting to think on it. Going to the trailer and standing in line for forever just to get my test, I’m like, ‘I hope this ain’t nothing positive.’ But I’m all good and ready to roll."
Even though he tested negative, the experience took a toll on Booker and his teammates beyond the loss of preparation time.
"How [do] you get negative and then you have a false positive and then negative and it’s just back and forth?" Booker said. "You’re like, ‘Either do I have it or do I don’t?’ It’s something kind of hard to deal with."
With Burns coaching from home and Barkley and Brightwell not on site, Booker said of the running backs’ room: "It’s been pretty much me in there. I’m looking around like, ‘Where’s everybody at?’ It’s been tough, but just got to learn how to work through it and be safe."
WR updates. The Giants hope to get wide receiver Kenny Golladay back after he missed three games with a knee injury. He is listed as questionable. Among other WRs: John Ross (quadriceps) is questionable, Sterling Shepard (quadriceps) is out and Dante Pettis (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve.