EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is officially listed as questionable for Thursday night against the Washington Football Team as he attempts to play for the second time in five days while returning from a major knee injury.
The expectation, barring a setback, remains that Barkley will play, a source told ESPN. Barkley and coach Joe Judge have said throughout the week that they believe he'll be ready.
Tight end Evan Engram (calf) will not be available for the Giants (0-1) against Washington. Starting left guard Shane Lemieux (knee) and outside linebacker Cam Brown (hamstring) have also been ruled out.
Barkley admitted Tuesday that playing two games four days apart while coming back from a torn ACL in his right knee was not ideal. He tore the knee ligament in Week 2 of last season, had surgery in October and started the summer on the physically unable to perform list. He didn't face his first contact until just a ew weeks ago and was feeling natural soreness after being tackled for the first time in almost a year on Sunday.
Asked when he would know whether his body would be ready for the challenge of playing on such short rest, he conceded the unknown.
"Thursday. When I'm out there," Barkley said.
Barkley had 10 carries for 26 yards and one catch for 1 yard in his return during a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He played 28 snaps -- 48% of the Giants' offensive plays -- and was mostly a nonfactor without the ability to get into open space.
Barkley is expected to have a similar workload Thursday night, perhaps handling slightly more than 50% of the offensive snaps while sharing time with Devontae Booker. A range of 12-17 touches is likely, although there remains a great element of the unknown.
Neither Barkley nor Judge was aware of any players who tore their knee and faced a similar challenge of two games so close to one another immediately upon their return.
"Yeah, that's a great question. I don't think the schedule is ideal for coming back off a major knee injury to have two games back-to-back, but that's what it is," Barkley said. "That's what's in front of me, and that's the challenge I have to face.
"To the question of my workload and how much can I handle, it's easier for me to stay up here and say, 'I don't know, just listen to the coaches.' When you're in the game and your adrenaline's going and you start getting a rhythm and you start feeling yourself again, that can go from less reps or more reps. I don't know, to be honest. I'm not in that decision. I don't make that decision. I'm just playing my role by showing up on Thursday and, the plays that I do get, try to help my team to the best of my capability."