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Saquon Barkley healing quickly, but Giants need to be cautious

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Barkley runs, cuts for second straight day

NFL: New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Evan Engram says Saquon Barkley must have a body that was “made in a lab.” Barkley is making Engram and others think things like that with a seemingly super-human recovery from a high ankle sprain suffered less than two weeks ago vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

For the past two days Barkley has been seen running, cutting and jumping during Giants practices. Though he hasn’t officially practiced as he has just done individual work.

Barkley doing anything at all has led coach Pat Shurmur to teasingly refuse to rule Barkley out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings, which would be exactly two weeks after he suffered a high ankle sprain — usually considered a four-to-eight-week injury.

It has also led to reactions like this:

Barkley said Thursday he “never really was given a timeframe” for his recovery.

“My mindset is not going to change. From the day I got hurt, I wasn’t going to allow myself to take a negative approach to it. I’m a big believer with healing, a lot of it is mental, also,” Barkley said. “(I’m) just trusting the trainers, and I think they’ve been doing a great job. Not only my trainers here, but my physical therapist, outside of football, is doing a great job with me, too. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win games. Just trying to get as ready as I can.”

Barkley said he was “just happy to be back out there with my teammates” and wouldn’t commit to either playing or not playing on Sunday vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

As encouraging as what we see Barkley doing is, should the Giants be in a rush to get him back on the field?

Probably not.

When we see him jumping he is still avoiding coming down on that injured right leg, which tells us he is still not 100 percent and is still unsure of that right ankle.

Whatever Barkley’s healing powers, Dr. David Chao recently told us that there is a substantial risk of re-injury if a player comes back too soon.

The risk of re-injury is not something Barkley wants to concern himself with.

“What’s damaging? I think that’s a question that’s going to come up whenever you guys see me when I’m on the field. Because everyone said I was supposed to be out 6-8 weeks, and now I’m back quicke,” Barkley said. “The question is going to be, is it a concern. I mean, a lot of it’s football. I think if you go back and look at my injury, I don’t care how strong of an ankle I have, how much I lift, how much I run, how much I condition, I just got hit in a bad spot and that’s why I had a sprain. That happens, that’s part of the nature of football. If I’m worried about that, I should give up football. I don’t plan on giving up football anytime soon.

“To be honest, the way that I train and the way that I operate, it probably should’ve been way worse than what it actually was. (There are) not any concerns of going back out there and re-injuring that. I think when you have that mindset, that’s how you get injured again.”

Still, a single game in a season where the Giants remain unlikely to be a real playoff contender remains less important than protecting the future of the star running back.

Thursday injury report

Did not practice

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring)

Limited participation

LB Lorenzo Carter (neck)
LB Tae Davis (concussion)
RB Wayne Gallman (neck)

Full participation

LT Nate Solder (neck)
RG Kevin Zeitler (shoulder)