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Saquon Barkley: “No doubt in my mind” he can return as the same player

Giants’ star running back discusses recovery from torn ACL

Saquon Barkley
Ed Valentine

Saquon Barkley said on Thursday that there is “no doubt in my mind” that he can return next season as the same player he was before tearing his ACL.

“That’s the mindset. I’m never going to go into it with a negative approach. I feel like you should never go into anything in life with a negative approach,” Barkley said. “I know that I’m going to be able to come out and be a better player, and that’s something I’m going to challenge myself with.”

Barkley tore his right ACL in the Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears. He underwent surgery on Oct. 30, once the swelling in the injured knee had subsided. Barkley said his MCL healed on its own and that his meniscus did not have to be removed during surgery, “which is a really good thing.”

Dr. Kyle Flik, an orthopedic surgeon and team doctor for several minor league and collegiate teams in New York’s Capital Region, told Big Blue View after the injury that Barkley had a “90 percent chance” of returning to action without any noticeable drop off in performance level.

“I would bet that he’s got a 90 percent chance of returning and returning at the same level,” Flik told me. “That explosiveness is more due to his raw talent and strength. You don’t need an ACL to be explosive, to be honest. You do need it to be able to have a stable knee, to cut and pivot on. A reconstructed ACL can be just as strong as the native one.

“I wouldn’t be overly worried about that.”

Speaking to New York media for the first time since his surgery, Barkley said that he is trying to “take the small wins” and offered no timetable for his recovery.

When he injured the knee against the Bears, Barkley said he “kinda had a feelin” the ACL was torn even before receiving the diagnosis.

“That brings you to tears,” he said. “It’s tough in that moment. I knew how hard I worked, I know how hard we worked as a team and what I wanted to help this team do this year, and I knew that was all taken away at that moment.”

Barkley could be in line for a new contract at the end of the season. On Thursday, he deflected a question about that.

“Don’t really focus on it. Not really focused on money or anything right now. I’m just really focusing on trying to come in every singe day and get one percent better.”

The Giants, of course, have found ways to run the ball successfully in recent weeks. Wayne Gallman has been a big part of that.

“Wayne Train. So proud of him,” Barkley said. “He’s playing amazing.

“To see those guys open up those holes and see the running backs run and the way that Wayne is running is honestly amazing.”

Barkley said he has had conversations with Adrian Peterson, who had a 2,000-yard rushing season in 2012 after tearing his own ACL in 2011.

‘Someone really important to me is AP,” Barkley said. “Obviously, when you hear this injury the first person that comes to your mind is the season that AP had.”

The maskless video

Barkley took responsibility for that and apologized.

“I do take this virus seriously. We let our guard down, to be completely honest. We were trying to do it the right way, and that little moment that was captured just came off looking negative, but we actually were trying to do it the right way ... I truly want to say I apologize for that as a leader of this team and being one of the faces of this franchise I’ve gotta be better for us.”