The New York Giants entered their bye week at 3-6 following a win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Nov. 7, a victory they notched without having star running back Saquon Barkley as he continued his recovery from an ankle injury he initially suffered while playing against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 10.
Per Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Barkley practiced Monday for the first time since he hurt his ankle. The ball-carrier's status for next Monday's matchup at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is unclear a week before kickoff, but Raanan adds sources say there's a "realistic hope" Barkley could play in that contest barring a setback.
Barkley was unable to practice ahead of the Raiders game after he produced a false positive COVID-19 test amid a feared outbreak within the organization. The Giants ultimately played things safe with him ahead of their off week, a decision that worked out well considering they won without him in the lineup.
"He lost a lot last week not having the availability with the COVID stuff," head coach Joe Judge said of Barkley. "That set him back a little bit. I wouldn't say set him back physically, but in terms of his timetable and not having him ready for that game.
"But optimistic we'll have him out there [at practice Monday] and see how he moves."
Thus far this season, Barkley has 195 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 54 carries. He's also tallied 14 receptions for 130 yards and one score.
Currently, Barkley is set to play the 2022 season on the fifth-year option attached to his rookie contract.