EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley cleared yet another hurdle when he came through his first contact at practice late last week with no issues, multiple sources told ESPN.
If all goes well in Wednesday's padded practice, Barkley is expected to be on the field Sunday for the team's Week 1 game against the Denver Broncos. His workload would still be limited as the Giants continue to take a long-term approach with their star running back. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported last week that Barkley was trending in the right direction to play against the Broncos, with only a late setback or the Giants potentially holding him back.
Barkley was out at practice moving well Monday afternoon.
"I can't speak for him directly but he was smiling today," coach Joe Judge said.
Judge said "we'll see a little bit more" from Barkley this week at practice. After that, a decision on the running back's status for the season opener will be made later in the week.
"I want to see how he responds to a couple things physically within his body and make the best assessment going forward for him this week and going forward past that," Judge said.
Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee last October, and the Giants have been extra cautious with their top offensive weapon this spring and summer. Barkley did not appear in a preseason game and didn't participate in live drills until less than two weeks ago, wearing a red, no-contact jersey in New England.
His first taste of contact came in a padded practice Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
"Felt good at practice and practicing with everyone on the team," Barkley said afterward. "Think that was definitely needed. Just grateful to be out there and just getting ready for the season."
It's mostly all encouraging news for the Giants and their offense with Barkley, wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring), and tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) all trending in the right direction for Week 1.
Only tight end Evan Engram (calf) is in serious doubt to miss Sunday's game.
"A number of these guys coming back right now, we're optimistic about all of them guys," Judge said. "We'll see how they do this week in practice."