The longest running storyline of the offseason for the New York Giants may be the recovery of Saquon Barkley. Barkley’s recovery has been in the news ever since it began last year, but we may be close to getting an answer on when the running back will actually return. Despite some worries about Barkley potentially missing weeks of the season, it looks like there’s a stronge chance we could actually see him in the season opener.
#Giants RB Saquon Barkley is trending in the right direction and has a strong chance to play Week 1 against Denver, per source. Team won't decide until next week and has been cautious so could still hold him back. But there is optimism. Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2 of 2020.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 2, 2021
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has reported that Barkley’s recovery is headed in the right direction and that it’s looking more likely that he’ll play in week 1. However, the team’s final decision isn’t set to come until next week.
The Giants have been careful about speaking on Barkley’s return all offseason so far. While the question of the return date has come up many times, multiple figures associated with the Giants including John Mara, Dave Gettleman, and Joe Judge have claimed there is no set return date for Barkley.
Barkley himself has given similar answers during this offseason, usually claiming that his recovery process is still day to day.
There have been some positive pieces of news recently in Barkley’s recovery process. The most recent is Barkley returning to hard contact drills in practice, a change from when he was wearing a red no contact jersey.
It’s hard to say definitively right now whether Barkley will be back for the opener or not, but if he is on the field, it will be a major break of luck for the Giants. After the team’s top offensive additions sat during the preseason, week 1 may just be our first chance to see the new look offense on the field in full.