Barkley may be back sooner than expected
By Tom Canavan
AP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Don’t be surprised if New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is back in the lineup a lot sooner than expected.
Just 10 days after sustaining a high sprain to his right ankle, Barkley worked out with a trainer on the field Wednesday and appeared to move well as the Giants (2-2) got ready to practice for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings (2-2).
Barkley did not practice with the team and coach Pat Shurmur said after the workout the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is making progress. The team will watch him this week to determine his status.
There had been reports Barkley might miss up to two months with the injury.
Shurmur scoffed at those on Wednesday.
“Some people’s doctors had him at eight weeks,” Shurmur said. “Not my doctors.”
The 22-year-old Barkley is in fabulous physical shape. Most people recall him on the Giants’ sideline with crutches and a walking boot on his foot in the second half of New York’s 32-31 win over the Buccaneers on Sept. 22. He tweeted a picture of himself without the walking boot Sunday.
Barkley was not in the locker room after practice and unavailable for comment.
Teammates were not surprised by his apparently quick recovery.
“I think his body is just made in a lab, I don’t know,” tight end Evan Engram said of Barkley. “I’m happy, though, it was good to see. I’m glad everything is coming along recovery-wise, and now it’s just being smart with it and not trying to rush anything.”
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard added Barkley has moved well in the locker room this past week, so it was no surprise to see him on the field.
How soon Barkley returns is uncertain. While Shurmur did not rule out this weekend, the most likely scenario would be either the game against New England a week from Thursday or against Arizona on Nov. 20.
Despite missing the most recent six quarters of this season, Barkley’s 237 yards rushing are seventh in the NFC and 16th overall. He has averaged 6.4 yards on 37 carries.
“It was very encouraging to see him out there,” center Jon Halapio said. “Obviously we want him back as fast as possible, but at the same time he needs to do what he needs to do to get healthy. But having him come out there much faster than we all anticipated is very encouraging. He’s a freak. He heals fast.”
Wayne Gallman started for Barkley in the 24-3 win over Washington and carried 18 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. He also caught six passes for 55 yards and another TD.
Backup halfback Jon Hilliman said high ankle sprains can be tricky.
“I had a couple of those in high school,” the rookie from Rutgers said. “Some day you kind of feel OK, and the next day you can’t get out of bed. You have to gauge them by how you feel.”
NOTES: LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and G Kevin Zeitler (shoulder) did not practice. LB Tae Davis (concussion) was limited along with T Nate Solder (neck), Gallman (neck) and LB Lorenzo Carter (neck). Shurmur expects all the limited players to be ready Sunday. …Rookie LB Oshane Ximines got his car back. He parked it outside his apartment in Secaucus and it was missing Monday morning. Turns out his parking pass fell to the floor of the car and complex officials had the car towed.