Saquon Barkley has achieved an important milestone in his return from an injury that left him out for most of last season.
Barkley returned to Giants practice Monday for the first time since tore his ACL and sprained MCL in Week 2 of the 2020 season against the Bears. The 24-year-old running back was limited during the session, and while the Giants don’t plan to put him in any live drills, he was able to show off his cutting and ball-carrying skills.
Additionally, the Giants activated Barkley from the cubs list due to his return to practice. Had Barkley remained on the cubs list in the regular season, he would have had to miss at least the first six games of the year. Now, its activation opens the door to a possible return as early as Week 1.
But will Barkley be ready to play in that first leg of the season? Here’s what he and the Giants are saying about their status as New York prepares to dive into its preseason schedule.
FANTASY STANDARD RATINGS 2021:
Field marshal | Running backwards | Wide receiver | Tight end | D / ST | Kicker | Top 200
Will Saquon Barkley play for the Giants in Week 1?
Barkley’s status in Week 1 looks decidedly more promising than just a month ago. While Barkley and Giants coach Joe Judge did not commit to a schedule for his return, the starting running back said he’s “definitely hopeful” to don the suit in Week 1 after feeling good about his return to league. practice on August 9.
Saquon Barkley says it “feels good” after his first practice in almost a year. He was still shy and said he didn’t know if he would be ready for Week 1. But Barkley admitted to entering practice more than a month before the first game that he is “definitely hopeful.” pic.twitter.com/iI9G56dcJM
– Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 9, 2021
This comes just a few days later Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Giants expected Barkley to return to the lineup no later than Week 3, barring a setback.
You’ll probably see him anywhere from Week 1 to Week 3. So, probably by Week 3, Saquon Barkley should be on the field.
It certainly looks like Barkley is heading in the right direction. Less than a month earlier, he hadn’t fully committed to the potential of a week 1 comeback.
“I don’t know. I guess we’ll see,” Barkley said of his Week 1 availability on July 19. via the New York Post. “Whenever I can go out, I make sure I’m 110 percent not just for my safety and health and well-being, but so I can go out there and compete at a high level, and show the world who Saquon is again.”
But now, it looks like there will at least be a chance for me to do so. And while Judge and the Giants won’t guarantee Barkley will play in the season opener, the coach is pleased with Barkley’s progress to date.
“He’s in my office all the time. ‘I can do this, get into this, can I do this?’ He’s already here today asking about doing a couple different exercises today, “Judge said after Monday’s practice. “And I said, ‘You know that’s not going to be allowed, Saquon. We have to back up a bit.’
“But look, he’s making progress. We’re happy with what he’s doing. He has a great attitude and he’s been a tremendous leader.”
Barkley’s condition will be watched in the run-up to Week 1. He almost certainly won’t see any action during the Giants’ three-game preseason schedule, but if he continues to do well in practice, he can put the suit on at Week 1. Either way, it doesn’t look like he’ll be out of the game for long in the 2021 NFL season.
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Saquon Barkley’s injury history
During his NFL career, Barkley has missed a total of 17 games in three seasons. Fourteen of those contests occurred last year as a result of his knee injury.
Below is a brief summary of the injuries Barkley has faced during his NFL career to date: via DraftSharks.com.
|Aug 13, 2018||Hamstring||0 (injury occurred during camp)|
|Sep 22, 2019||High ankle sprain||3|
|September 20, 2020||ACL tear / MCL sprain||14|
Additionally, Barkley suffered a couple of ankle injuries in college. He missed just two games during his freshman season as a result of those injuries.