Giants RB Saquon Barkley’s Week 1 status unclear

By Pat Leonard

NEW YORK — The Saquon Barkley decision will have to wait.

Giants coach Joe Judge said he won’t make the call on his running back’s status for Sunday’s season opener against the visiting Denver Broncos until later this week.

Wednesday’s padded practice will be the final hurdle for Barkley to clear.

“I know the next question coming is where is Saquon,” Judge said. “Look, that won’t be decided until later in the week. I want to see how he responds to a couple things physically within his body and make the best assessment for him this weekend and going past that.”

The Broncos are coming to MetLife Stadium for a 4:25 p.m. Week 1 kickoff on Sunday.

Asked how Barkley was feeling after last Thursday’s first contact practice, Judge said: “I can’t speak for him directly, but he was smiling.”

Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee, partially tore the meniscus and strained the MCL last September at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

As Judge weighs Barkley’s Week 1 status, he also must be cognizant of the quick turnaround to a Week 2 Thursday Night Football showdown at Washington on Sept. 16.

Will that impact the coach’s decision on Barkley for Week 1?

“In terms of Saquon specifically talking about the second game, we’re really focused on this first game right now,” Judge said. “The second game’s obviously a real thing, being a short turnaround. But the reality is we have the Broncos coming this week, and we’ve gotta have all of our attention on them.”

That coach did admit that when the doctors clear a player like Barkley for game action, that means they are telling the coach his player is full go, physically.

Judge still could limit Barkley’s snaps hypothetically, which would seem likely if he plays, but when Barkley is in the game, he wouldn’t be limited.

“I can only control volume,” Judge said. “I can’t control intensity. You may manage somebody’s reps based on practice or a game, but to me when a doctor says someone’s healthy for a game, you can go ahead and play him. That’s to me. You can only bring a certain number of guys to the game, so when a doctor says the guy’s good to go, they’ve got to be good to go for us.”

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