The New York Giants finally have Saquon Barkley back. At least, in a limited form. Barkley is finally on the field and participating in training camp after heading into it on the Active/PUP list, even if the strategy for the Giants has been to keep him from pushing himself too much too soon. Barkley had a limited workload because of that, but few will complain about that given Barkley’s long absence from any kind of full speed practice in pads.
This is, after all, one of the last steps in a recovery that started with a surgery during last season and a long rehab process that has lasted until now. After all of this, the Giants have no reason to rush Barkley into taking a larger role in training camp and potentially causing further problems.
Despite Barkley’s smaller role, however, the running back still earned praise from head coach Joe Judge after his return to the field.
“(It is) more an extension of the rehab. We’ve got to make sure that we control not only just what he does on the field, but then also the repetitions and the volume he gets within each period, so it’s something we’re going to keep an eye on and see how his body responds,” Judge told reporters.
He said that Barkley’s limits will be removed over time and that the progress so far was encouraging.
“We’ll look to increase it as we go through this process, but in terms of yesterday, I was very encouraged with how he came out and had a good day of work. Good excitement for a lot of people to have him back.”
The goal of Barkley’s progress
Barkley making a return to training camp is a big milestone in his recovery timeline – and also makes it look more likely that he’ll be ready for week 1 of the regular season.
As much as everyone would like to see Barkley on the field then, both Barkley and the team have refused to confirm week 1 as a return date.
However, we can use certain things to judge Barkley’s progress such as his return to full speed training as well as his route running and pass catching while working out away from the rest of the team earlier in training camp.
Based on these things, Barkley looks like a player that’s closer to being on the field at the start of the season.
Despite all the speculation about Barkley potentially missing the opener and maybe not even being available until week 3, it really shouldn’t be surprising at this point if Barkley ends up smashing the estimates and making it back in time thanks to his fast current rate of progress.