Giants' Barkley, Engram To Miss Patriots Game

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The Giants will be without arguably their three best offensive skill players Thursday against the Patriots.

Running back Saquon Barkley will miss his third straight game. He was unlikely to play, ESPN's Jordan Raanan reported Tuesday morning, citing multiple sources. Barkley, who suffered a high ankle sprain Sept. 22 against the Buccaneers, was not expected to be cleared by doctors in time for the game, according to the report.

Meanwhile, tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained MCL in his knee, reported ESPN's Adam Schefter, who added, "It'll be a challenge for Engram to play at NE."

In addition to WR Sterling Shepard being out Thursday at New England and RB Saquon Barkley being unlikely to play, there’s also a real chance the Giants will be without TE Evan Engram, who is dealing with a sprained MCL, per source. It’ll be a challenge for Engram to play at NE.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2019

Adding to the Giants' pain is that wide receiver Sterling Shepard has entered the concussion protocol for the second time this season and is expected to be sidelined for a while and running back Wayne Gallman, Barkley's top backup, is dealing with a concussion as well.

Barkley, meanwhile, was not ready to rule himself out ahead of the contest. 

"Every day I continue to feel better," he said Tuesday. "I’m taking it day by day. ... I do not know if I’m playing Thursday yet. No decision has been made."

Reports initially said Barkley would miss four to eight weeks, but, determined to beat that timeline, the Pro Bowl running back was taking handoffs and making cuts at near full speed on the side during practices last week and was listed as a limited participant on Monday's estimated practice report.

Giants coach Pat Shurmur told reporters Monday "there's a possibility" Barkley could play against the Patriots. But Barkley's ankle will now have an additional 10 days to heal before the Giants' Week 7 game against the Cardinals.

Without Barkley and Gallman, rookie Jon Hilliman and fullback Elijhaa Penny will be counted on to try to provide some semblance of a running game against the Patriots, whose defense is ranked third against the rush.

Giants tight end Evan Engram gets a first down in the first quarter as Vikings free safety Harrison Smith defends on Oct. 6, 2019, at MetLife Stadium.   Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Images

Hilliman, who played at Rutgers, was held to 20 yards on nine carries Sunday against the Vikings. Penny has rushed for 30 yards on eight carries this season. 

Engram, Shepard and Barkley are three of the Giants' top four receivers this season, accounting for nearly 55% of the team's receptions. 

Rhett Ellison will likely get the start in Engram's absense. Golden Tate, Cody Latimer and up-and-coming rookie Darius Slayton figure to be quarterback Daniel Jones' top targets at wide receiver until Shepard returns.