Running back Saquon Barkley returned to practice for the New York Giants on Monday. Barkley has not played since suffering an ankle injury early in a Week 5 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Practicing on Monday would likely put Barkley on track to return to action next Monday when the Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Should Barkley play on Monday it will be only the eighth time in the last 26 Giants game over the past two seasons in which he will be active.
Head coach Joe Judge on Monday rejected the “injury-prone” label for Barkley, who has now missed time with leg injuries in three straight seasons.
“I would say the two injuries (last year’s torn ACL and the current ankle injury) are completely unrelated and (the second was) definitely more of a freak accident. This isn’t something from a guy who’s injury-prone or something of that nature. It’s a freak accident – a guy steps on somebody else’s foot. It’s nothing related to another injury that keeps lingering,” Judge said. “He did a tremendous job rehabbing the knee coming off of last year. That was a big injury. He did a great job, did a great job off the field for us. He’s continued to be a leader for us through this process.”
The 3-6 Giants have gone 2-2 with Barkley sidelined. Backup Devontae Booker has posted back-to-back games with more than 100 yards of total offense.
Look who’s back?!— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 15, 2021
At least one Giants player was thrilled to see Barkley back on the practice field.
"He's our biggest leader, our biggest captain"— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) November 15, 2021
Evan Engram talks about the return of Saquon Barkley to Giants practice pic.twitter.com/fo4h14rGuE
The news wasn’t quite as optimistic when it came to left tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle/foot) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (quad). Both worked with trainers, as did Lorenzo Carter (ankle) and Nate Ebner (ankle).
The Giants activated running back Gary Brightwell from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Running backs coach Burton Burns returned to practice after missing the Week 9 game against the Las Vegas Raiders with COVID-19.