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No guarantee Saquon Barkley plays Week 1 as Giants take deliberate approach in his return

Mike Florio sifts through questions from NFL fans during the latest installment of Pro Football Talk Mailbag.

Saquon Barkley repeatedly has refused to put a timetable on his return from a right knee injury. The Giants are doing the same thing.

Giants coach Joe Judge conducted one-on-one phone interviews with the team’s beat writers Monday. He would not guarantee Barkley would play the season opener as the Giants take a deliberate approach in the running back’s return.

“He’s doing everything we’re asking him, and he’s constantly asking, ‘How long ya think? How long ya think,’” Judge told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “So he wants to be back.

“We’re really just watching day by day and evaluating where he’s at and affording him the ability to come back when he’s fully ready to go, because the plan is when we get him back to keep him back. We don’t want to rush him back and do something that’s not best for him individually or best for the team, and we’re really taking a big picture and a long-term view of this.”

Barkley, 24, will begin camp on the physically unable to perform list. He surely will push the medical staff to clear him for the Sept. 12 season opener against the Broncos.

“Look, ideally we’d love to have him back as soon as possible,” Judge said, “but ultimately we’ve got to make sure when he comes back he can play 100 percent; he can play aggressive and confident; and that we have him back. So that’s the approach we’re taking.”

Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament, partially tore the meniscus and strained the medial collateral ligament in his right knee on Sept. 20. He underwent surgery Oct. 30.