Saquon is approaching the return of the Barkley Giants


Saquon is back.

Well, as in the past and in the game, not a little bit, but just a week before the Giants became true again, Saquon Barkley took the field and with this new problem – a sprained ankle – looked better than he seemed at any time. He took the ball out of his hands and eradicated him from the offense he so badly needed.

The franchise running back participated in individual drills on Monday as the giants reunited after their bye-week break. Barkley had a bounce in his footsteps while doing cut and agility drills, and there’s every reason to believe he’ll return when the Giants face the Buccaneers in “Monday Night Football”.

“It’s great, to have their presence there, even in Huddle,” Evan Engram said. “He’s probably our biggest hero, our biggest hero so it’s good to get him back. I know he’s itching to come back.”

The renewal does not guarantee some of the other players on the offense dealing with injuries, as their teammates worked on a windy and chilly afternoon with left tackle Andrew Thomas and wide receiver Sterling Shepard working side by side.

Saquon Barkley does individual drills at practice on Monday.
Bill Costroun / New York Post

Six weeks and a day after Barkley missteps, and Cowboys cornerback Jordan Lewis’ left foot, it immediately blew up with his badly injured left foot. At the time, the Giants did not keep Barkley on injured reserve, believing he had a chance to lose just two games. Saving his roster spot with Barkley in the IR should have cost him at least three games. Clearly, this injury lasted longer than expected. Any shot that Barkley returned against the Raiders in Week 9 was dashed when he was false-positive to COVID-19, who missed precious days of practice while waiting for corrections to be made.

Barkley, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery that limited him to two games in 2020, began to look like a two-touchdown cruise in New Orleans when he moved to Dallas.

“The two injuries are completely unrelated and definitely the most bizarre accident,” coach Joe Judge said. “It is not something from a person who is injured or something of that nature.

“Look, I’m not going to talk about any player’s mood or anything, but any player who’s competitive to get there knows it’s tough to make enough strides to get back and then you’re not involved for a while. For us, it’s about getting him mentally, physically trying to get him back on the field.

The judge said Barkley served a valuable purpose in the long run when he was in good standing and not in the rotation of the game.

“He has done a great job of leadership, being active in the team, being active in leaders meetings,” the judge said. “It gives me more insight into what’s going on in the locker room for me, lots of relevant reactions that I need.”

Andrew Thomas's right ankle sprain during the Giants' 38-11 loss to the Rams.
Andrew Thomas’s right ankle sprain during the Giants’ 38-11 loss to the Rams.
Robert Sabo

While Barkley appears to be one step ahead of Shepard and Thomas, the real tests for these often battered players come weeks later. With an extra day to prepare before the match with the struggling Buccaneers, the Giants practice Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday before traveling to Tampa on Sunday. It worked light on Monday, a bonus day on the field as the Giants reunited after a four-day bye break.

Shepard’s season is a start-stop-start-stop. He played in the first three games, missed the hamstring and week 4 and week 5, returned to face the Rams in Week 6 but the hamstring reappeared and he dropped out in Week 7. Shepard played in Kansas City in the 8th week but an abandoned quad injury kept him out of the 9th week victory over the Raiders. Although Shepard had three weeks of healing time before the game in Tampa, his injury is fresh from his teammates and therefore he is highly unlikely to return to the game.

Thomas did not miss a snap in the first four games but a left ankle problem forced him into Week 5. He returned but had just 29 snaps against the Rams when he sprained his right foot. That put Thomas on the injured reserve and he missed three games before the bye. The game against the Buccaneers will be five weeks and one day after an ankle injury.

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