Giants RB Barkley unlikely to face Patriots

FILE PHOTO: Oct 6, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) on the sidelines during warm up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is unlikely to play Thursday night against the New England Patriots, ESPN reported Tuesday citing multiple sources.

Barkley missed the last two games with a right high ankle sprain, but returned to practice last week and had targeted this week’s primetime contest at Gillette Stadium as a potential return date.

On Monday, coach Pat Shurmur said the second-year star would not return until he is able to perform at a high level and protect himself from further injury.

Sitting Barkley this week would give him until New York’s Oct. 20 game against the Arizona Cardinals to recover, but it also leaves the Giants short-handed in the backfield.

Backup Wayne Gallman is out Thursday due to a concussion suffered in Sunday’s loss against the Minnesota Vikings, leaving undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman and fullback Elijhaa Penny to shoulder the rushing load against the unbeaten Patriots.

The Giants will also be missing wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion) and could be without tight end Evan Engram (sprained MCL).

Barkley rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the first two games before sustaining the injury in the Week 3 win at Tampa Bay. He has carried 37 times for 237 yards and one touchdown.

--Field Level Media