EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It doesn’t get any easier for quarterback Daniel Jones and the injury-plagued New York Giants offense this week. They will be without running back Saquon Barkley and wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Kenny Golladay on Sunday when they host the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium.
It will be the second consecutive game that Barkley (ankle) and Golladay (knee) miss. Toney (ankle) left last Sunday’s 38-11 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams after he aggravated a previous injury.
Toney, a first-round draft pick earlier this year, is the Giants’ leading receiver. He has 23 catches for 317 yards despite not playing much the first two weeks of the season.
Barkley leads the Giants with three total touchdowns despite playing only four games from start to finish.
But at least the Giants appear likely to have tight end Evan Engram (calf) and wide receivers Sterling Shepard (hamstring) and Darius Slayton (hamstring) available. They are among the Giants listed as questionable. So is speedy but oft-injured receiver John Ross (hamstring).
Engram and Shepard appeared on the injury report Thursday with injuries that forced them to miss games earlier this year. Coach Joe Judge downplayed it on Friday.
“We have to put every little thing on the injury report. So a lot of things get thrown on there,” Judge said of Engram after he did not practice the previous day. “Just a normal nick and bump coming out of games, things that are aggravated at practice from the games. So [Thursday] was a day we had to limit him a little bit.”
Shepard and Slayton were at least limited participants in every practice this week. Slayton indicated Friday that he expects to return after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
“Yeah, I feel good,” he said, before adding that he had a good week of practice.
While the Giants might elect for Slayton to go through one last pregame test on Sunday, Judge is “optimistic” about the speedy receiver returning against the Panthers.
It’s encouraging for the Giants’ offense, which will still be missing perhaps its three most dangerous weapons in Barkley, Toney and Golladay. That’s a lot of offense on the sideline.
Barkley has progressed slowly since suffering a low ankle sprain on Oct. 10 against the Dallas Cowboys. He did not practice at all this week, and he never got close to returning against the Panthers.
Neither did Golladay nor Toney. It leaves the Giants without significant firepower in a week when they already put starting left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot/ankle) on injured reserve.
Judge said earlier in the week they “all made progress.” But it wasn’t enough to get back on the field this week. The Giants have two more games — next Monday night at Kansas City and vs. Las Vegas — before their bye week.
It’s possible some of the high-profile trio might not return until they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the bye on Nov. 22.