The former No. 2 overall pick had been sidelined for nearly 11 months with a torn ACL that he suffered in Week 2 of the 2020 season. There has been ample speculation about whether or not he’ll be ready to by the time the 2021 campaign gets underway, but practicing in any capacity in early August bodes well for his return in the coming weeks.
After the Giants workout concluded, Barkley expressed how thankful he was to get back onto the field with his teammates and get a little bit closer to full strength.
“It felt great,” Barkley told NFL Network’s Kim Jones after practice. “Obviously, I know what I was going to be able to do, it was gonna be light. But just to be back with my teammates and be back practicing and playing the sport that I love, meant the world to me. I know it’s not a huge step, but it’s a small step in my rehab process and I’m just happy to be back out there.”
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 9, 2021
The Giants and head coach Joe Judge has expressed their desire to bring Barkley back slowly and not jeopardize a major setback before the start of the regular season. The 24-year-old running back is critical to what New York can accomplish on offense, so getting him on the field for Week 1 is important, but not worth risking him damaging his ACL again.
“In terms of a player like Saquon and a timetable coming back, he’s making daily progress,” Judge told reporters last week, via 247Sports. “I know it sounds like a broken record, but that’s important for us to see coming off an injury like this. You want to make sure that it’s not push forward and take a step back.’’
Barkley will be entering his fourth year in the NFL this fall and he’ll certainly be burdened with high expectations. After his Rookie of the Year performance in 2018, he’s tapered off over the last two seasons and will now need to prove that he’s worthy of a possible contract extension after the 2022 campaign.
Of course, it all starts with Barkley just getting back on the field for the start of this year. He said that he’s “definitely hopeful” to start Week 1 when the Giants take on the Denver Broncos.