EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants' players have numerous options for spending their time during the bye-week hiatus that began after today's practice. Coach Joe Judge hopes and expects being smart and sensible are at the top of the list.
"We talked about it this morning," Judge said. "Just make the right decisions."
That has become a customary sendoff for coaches who are concerned for their players' well-being and conduct as they scatter for the long weekend off during the season. The players will return to work on Monday.
"We talked about a few of the instances that happened this year and last year around the league," Judge said. "Look, it's natural for a lot of guys to kind of let their hair down this time of year. You get a few days off, you step away from a stressful situation for a couple of days, you kick back. You've got to make sure that you put yourself in the right surroundings and you make the right decisions. We talk very openly with our players about making the right decision. Before they get out of here again today, I'll remind them of the same thing. It's good for guys to refresh physically, refresh mentally and come back ready to go. Within that time, we're not exempt to consequences and we're not exempt from tragedies, so we have to understand that and make the right decisions."
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*Judge remains hopeful that left tackle Andrew Thomas and running back Saquon Barkley, who have missed the last three and four games, respectively, will be in uniform when the Giants visit the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, Nov. 22.
"They were with the trainers really the majority of yesterday," Judge said. "We had the kind of walkthrough in the beginning as far as going through some different adjustments we were doing as a team. Both guys were active in that. In terms of moving around with the trainers, from all of our understanding, it was a positive day. It should lead into their opportunity to keep on progressing with the team. The good thing is we have a little bit of flex time. It's a Monday night game coming out of the bye. They're going to have the remainder of this week to work with us, early next week and the way the schedule will flow, we'll have time to kind of build these guys up and then rest them. We're optimistic about it. We'll see how it comes out of the bye."
When Barkley injured his ankle in Dallas on Oct. 10, the Giants hoped he would not miss a month of work. The fact that he hasn't returned to practice prompted questions that perhaps he experienced an obstacle along the recovery road.
"I wouldn't say there's been any setback from anything that's directly happened," Judge said. "Sometimes these things – I say it all the time, everybody's body is different. Every injury is different. It's why I'm slow all the time to say it's this kind of an injury because someone may want to diagnose it and say, 'Oh, that's a 2-3 week injury, that's a 4-6 week injury.' Everybody's different and every injury is different, so we've got to give everyone the timetable on their own body to come back and go play effectively."
Thomas, who was sidelined for four of the last five games, has ankle and foot injuries.
*Devontae Booker, who has started at running back in Barkley's absence, injured his hip while rushing for 99 yards in Sunday's 23-16 victory vs. Las Vegas.
"He saw the doctors yesterday," Judge said. "He'll be out here today through the first part of practice with us. We'll kind of take the rest of this week as far as him rehabbing with the trainers and getting some treatment. We'll see where it looks next week when we get into it."
*Finally, Judge was asked for health updates on linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad).
"Carter was out here yesterday moving around with the trainers," Judge said. "He's kind of in that same boat as Andrew and Saquon. I think Shep right now is on a little bit different of a timetable in terms of just how we're going to manage his body throughout the week, but he's in the same plan in terms of dealing with the trainers and has a little flex time. A lot of these guys, we're going to really get them as much rest as we can. Some of the guys – Saquon, Zo, Andrew – yesterday was a good day to kind of test the waters, get them out here, get them back moving.
"For Saquon, it was important because he missed time last week with the COVID stuff being out of the building. So, everyone's on a little bit of a time track right there. For Shep, he's part of this group of some other guys where we're going to kind of let them have this week to really just get their body back as much as possible. Rest is good for these guys. There's still treatment and rehab their doing internally in the house, but in terms of having them on the field, they'll be a little bit different than everybody else this week."