EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney returned to the team after spending several days out due to false positive COVID-19 tests. They were activated from the reserve / COVID list on Friday morning.
McKinney was in practice and is expected to play the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Barkley was in the building but did not practice due to an ankle injury that took him out of the game in the last three games. He will almost certainly miss another game in part because the false positives limited his chances to get on the field this week.
“A guy who’s been out for weeks like this, yeah, we’d like to see him on the field and make sure that we can ensure how he’s moving in and out, doing it safely and staying on the field,” Coach Joe said. Judge said before practice.
The Giants (2-6), who have a bye next week, are expected to win back wide receiver Kenny Golladay (knee) against the Raiders. Golladay also missed the previous three games. He practiced for the first time since Thursday’s injury.
Barkley’s likely absence culminates a wild week in which coaches and players were in and out of the building due to false positives. Running back Gary Brightwell stayed away from the team on Friday as he awaits confirmation that his result was incorrect.
The Giants had a confirmed positive case, running backs coach Burton Burns, earlier this week. But 12 of the 13 positive tests on Tuesday were later deemed false. Results for Barkley, McKinney and starting left guard Matt Skura turned out to be false positives Wednesday, and there were a “good number” more Thursday, according to Judge.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said Thursday in an interview with the NFL Network that the league was investigating irregularities in the laboratory that handles testing for the Giants. The Giants eventually stopped using rapid tests that kept producing incorrect results.
“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 person, all positive Mesa Test results in the last two days have been negative at through PCR Testing, “the Giants said in a statement Thursday. “The lab 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 only PCR tests.”
The lost time was still too much for Barkley to get over. He was unable to rehabilitate his ankle at the facility for several days or enter the field to practice.
Barkley was practicing working alongside the coaches last week. He didn’t even get to that point this week due to his false positive, instead spending an inordinate amount of time at home.
“He has assured us that he is moving in the right direction,” Judge said. “But again, he is a very competitive player, he wants to be there, he wants to be competing on the field with his teammates.”