EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – A sense of normality returned to the Giants today, as did two players who weren't with the team yesterday and the customary Friday uncertainty about who will or won't play in their game on Sunday.
Running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney were activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list just 24 hours after joining it. Barkley, however, has not recovered from his sprained ankle and was declared out of the Giants' home game against the Las Vegas Raiders. He will miss his fourth consecutive game. Rookie running back Gary Brightwell remains on the list, though coach Joe Judge said, "we're still kind of waiting in limbo on Gary Brightwell. He still has a chance to clear as well." Brightwell is listed as questionable.
McKinney doesn't appear on the injury report.
Perhaps the day's most significant illness/injury news is that wide receiver Kenny Golladay joined fellow wideout John Ross (quad) and Brightwell on the questionable list. Golladay has missed the last three games with a knee injury he suffered in Dallas on Oct. 10. He was limited in practice for the second straight day after missing Wednesday's workout.
"I would like to (play)," Golladay said. "It depends how my body responds from a couple of days back-to-back. … I feel like I'm doing pretty good. Just trying to stack good days on top of one another.
"I think we're all just being smart about it right now. Definitely avoided something very serious. Right now, just making sure I'm not trying to go out there and push it and make something worse."
Judge said Golladay "had a decent day yesterday. He moved around with us a little bit more between Wednesday and Thursday. We'll see how he comes out today, but he had a couple of decent days for us."
The Giants have their bye next week, so if Golladay doesn't play, he will get an additional 14 days to continue rehabilitating his knee, which he said was hyperextended.
"We're going to talk today and tomorrow and see," Golladay said.
In addition to Barkley, wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad), linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and safety Nate Ebner (ankle) will not face the Raiders.
Wide receiver Dante Pettis was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury he suffered on a muffed punt Monday night in Kansas City.
On Day 3 of their workweek, the Giants at least adhered to their normal schedule, although they did again meet virtually prior to practice, as they continued to prepare for the Raiders. The Giants' work routine this week was twice upended because of COVID, or more specifically, a spate of numerous false-positive tests.
On Wednesday, 13 positive results from the previous day's testing forced all the players and coaches to be re-tested. In the second go-round, running backs coach Burton Burnes was the only positive. He has remained at home and will not be available to coach Sunday's game.
Yesterday, the Giants sent their players home and held virtual meetings in the morning, then welcomed them back and practiced in the afternoon. The team also issued a statement which said in part, "Bio-Reference Laboratories (BRL) is experiencing an unusually high number of false positives using the Rapid Mesa Test at our facility. With the exception of one individual, all of the positive Mesa test results over the last two days have come back negative through PCR testing. The laboratory is working with experts to determine the source of the problem.
"The NFL and BRL are monitoring this situation closely. We are temporarily halting the use of the Rapid Mesa Test and administering PCR tests only."
That enabled the Giants and the league to get the situation under control and return to normal.
For Barkley, unfortunately, that meant he would be inactive again because of his ankle injury and not something COVID-related. But being placed in the protocol certainly didn't help.
"Today is his first day really in the building with us," Judge said prior to practice. "We'll have him see the trainers and see how that leads. We'll see if he's going to be available for practice or not. We really don't have anything leading into it until we kind of see him out there and moving a little bit. He's kind of in their hands right now."
Playing without practicing is never ideal, particularly for someone who was last in uniform four weeks ago.
"We'd like to see him on the field and make sure that we can ensure how he's moving and that he can get out there and do things safely and stay on the field," Judge said. "In terms of where he's at or our expectation, until they give me some information and feedback, it's all just guessing right now."
Not so with Golladay. Arguably the Giants' most important offseason acquisition, he started each of the first five games and caught 17 passes for 282 yards (though he did not have a reception in Dallas before suffering his injury). In his most recent full game, he and quarterback Daniel Jones were in sync and Golladay had six catches for 116 yards, a 19.3-yard average.
"That's the frustrating part," Golladay said. "The Saints game went very well with us and then it was the first half of that Dallas game. You never know how that game could have went on. I think we had a good game plan going into the game, but me, Say (Barkley) – that's very frustrating and I did feel like I was starting to get into a groove a little bit. I mean, that comes with the game."
Golladay believes he can quickly find another groove.
"I feel like I'll be able to pick up where I left off," he said. "But at the same time, not being able to practice or do any of that for some weeks now – you know, everybody else is still practicing and everything, so hopefully I'm not steps behind or anything like that but got to see.
"It's about how my body recovers from it, what's my body going to tell me come tomorrow, come Sunday. Just got to listen to it."
The Giants are waiting to hear.
*With Barkley out and Brightwell's status uncertain, the Giants re-signed running back Dexter Williams to their practice squad. Williams was on the squad from Sept. 2-22. He rushed for 19 yards on seven carries in seven games for the Green Bay Packers in 2019-20.
View rare photos of the history between the Giants and Raiders ahead of their Week 9 matchup.