ALLEN PARK, Mich. — New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who flashed in his first preseason action a week ago, did not take part in Tuesday's joint practice with the Detroit Lions. Barkley injured his hamstring on Monday, although the injury doesn't appear to be anything serious.
Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said Barkley "tweaked" the hamstring and said the team would "be smart with him" this week and leading up to Friday's preseason game against the Lions. It's not clear if he'll play in that game, much less perform much in the remaining two days of practices in Detroit.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft ran for 39 yards on his first NFL touch in the Giants' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. Barkley finished the game with 43 yards on four carries on a mere six snaps. But that was enough to crank up the hype meter for a team that could have a lot more playmaking ability on offense this season.
"He's ready to come in and make an impact," Giants tight end Evan Engram said. "He's picking up on everything really fast and [gives us] another dynamic playmaker that can break a play for 60 [yards]. He's a breakout, big-play player. He's going to help us a lot with his presence out there."
On Tuesday, Barkley was in uniform but not in pads. He was standing on the Giants' sideline for the first part of practice, and he stood with the fellow running backs as they went to individual drills. But when the Giants and Lions split up to do full-team work on two separate fields, Barkley went off with trainers to do his own work with them.
Shurmur has spoken openly about his fear of his players getting hurt during the run-up to the season, and that certainly applies to Odell Beckham in his quest to return from a shattered ankle. But Shurmur didn't appear too concerned about his $31 million running back, who very well could be held out of live action until the team returns to New York.
Is it possible Barkley could sit out the entire preseason with an eye on preserving him for Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars? Shurmur wasn't willing to look that far ahead, saying the injury would be treated as a "day to day" matter.