The Giants have patiently waited for the return of Saquon Barkley. Another hurdle has arrived in the form of a positive COVID-19 test that's led to Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported per the transaction wire.
Barkley's initial test came back as positive, Rapoport reported Wednesday, and Barkley was one of several Giants players being retested. Barkley is vaccinated, which means he'll need to be both asymptomatic and produce two negative tests within 24 hours to play this weekend if his initial positive test is confirmed.
New York listed Barkley, McKinney and offensive lineman Matt Skura as not practicing because of COVID-19 protocols, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Barkley hasn't played since New York's Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, a game in which Barkley suffered an ankle injury. He's spent the weeks since then recovering and attempting to work his way back to the field, but his initial positive COVID-19 test could cause an additional delay.
Without Barkley, the Giants have lost two of their last three games, averaging 78.3 rushing yards per game in that stretch of contests. New York faces the Las Vegas Raiders at MetLife Stadium on Sunday after mustering just 17 points against the league's 29th ranked defense in Kansas City.
Barkley has spent much of the last year and a half on the sideline, suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the 2020 season. He's played in seven of New York's last 24 games. Further COVID-19 testing will determine whether he could be back in action in Week 9.