New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is hopeful that he will be ready for the start of the regular season. "I guess you can say, with my mindset, I'm definitely hopeful," Barkley said, per ESPN. "It's definitely better being able to practice now than later on in camp."
Barkley is coming off a torn ACL injury. "Yeah, uh, rehab is definitely tough," Barkley said slowly and with a wide smile. "I think [director of rehabilitation/physical therapist] Leigh [Weiss] and them are probably kind of happy I'm out and practicing ...
"You know I'm a competitor. Especially it's different when you're over there and look and see a team competing, getting into fights and going at it and you can't be a part of it."
Barkley still can't fully practice
Barkley has other barriers to cross before he is ready to take hits once again.
"I got to a point over there where, obviously what I was doing was very helpful, but the next phase for me was to get that [practice] part to get confidence," Barkley said. "It's different than running at a black garbage can to be able to make that cut simulating what you're going to do in a game or do in practice than actually having [defensive lineman] B.J.
Hill shed a block or me reading [offensive tackle] Nate Solder's block. That is going to come with time." Meanwhile, Giants head coach Joe Judge didn't rule out putting Barkley in a preseason game. "The thing is, before you get hit in the first [regular] game at full speed when the speed does elevate, we want to go out there and just get you used to the tempo of the game, the pace of the game, get you a catch, get you hit, get the feel of being tackled.
That's natural preparation," Judge said. "You don't want to put someone in a situation where they're just getting the gauntlet out there getting hit, but that's part of preparation, your body understanding and feeling the flow of how to get hit, how to fall, how to recover after that.
So, am I looking to put Saquon into something that's not going to be in his best interest? Absolutely not, but at some point the doctors say 'He's ready to play,' and if we have the opportunity to get him in at a certain point, we will. But I'm not going to press that timetable."