It seems pretty apparent that Saquon Barkley suffered more than your run-of-the-mill low ankle sprain Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. The New York Giants never placed Barkley on Injured Reserve, indicating they expected him back before the three-game absence required by IR would be up.
Here we are, though, six weeks after Barkley stepped on the foot of a Dallas Cowboys defensive back and Barkley has not played since. He has, though, practiced this week and is trending toward playing Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Barkley on Friday deflected questions about the severity of his injury.
Asked directly what the injury was, all Barkley would say is “something with my ankle.”
Pressed for details, Barkley did not provide any.
“I really don’t want to get too much into that – whatever was reported – it is what it is. I’m just coming out every single day trying to get better and trying to get back,” Barkley said. “Really don’t want to get too much into the details. Those questions are more for (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge or (Director of Rehabilitation/Physical Therapist) Leigh (Weiss) or (Senior Vice President of Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie Barnes.”
Perhaps the only admission Barkley did make was that he has been sidelined longer than he originally thought he would be.
“I think everyone – when it first came out reported, I think at first no one thought that, but when the MRIs came back, obviously we knew it was going to be a little more difficult than we thought,” Barkley said. “I’ve just been keeping my head down and coming to work every single day.”
To be fair, Barkley had hoped to play two weeks ago against the Las Vegas Raiders, but the rash of false positive COVID-19 tests kept him away from the practice facility for a few days. The Giants had their bye last week.
Barkley said whether he would have been able to play against the Raiders is “kind of up in the air.”
“Obviously, as a competitor, I would’ve loved to try and play last week, but missing practice for a day or two – I had to be home for a day or two – and not being at practice, definitely, I guess you could say, set me back from what I would’ve liked to accomplish,” Barkley said. “But no one knows and I can’t predict that. I could’ve came out and practiced and not felt good and still not been able to play or could’ve came out of practice and felt good enough to go out there and play.”
Barkley had a torn ACL last season that caused him to miss 14 games. He has now played in only seven of the Giants’ last 25 games.
Rehabbing injuries and working on his body is now just part of Barkley’s daily routine.
“You’ve got to rehab the ankle, you’ve got to rehab the knee, and you’ve got to rehab your body,” Barkley said. “I know I’ve been banged up and hurt the last two years, but I hire a lot of people. I do a lot of extra work on my body. That’s why some of the injuries, I guess you could say, don’t make sense, but you’ve got to continue to stay on your body.
“No different if I didn’t have an ankle injury or if I didn’t have a knee injury the year before, Week whatever we are in the NFL, it’s a grind and tear on your body, so you’ve got to take care of your body no matter what. The extra stuff that you’ve got to do to your body is needed no matter what, if it wasn’t for injury or just want to continue to go out there and be healthy.”
Barkley was asked if he thought at all about the money his injuries over the past three seasons might end up costing him.
“You live life, you know what I mean? I can’t control that. A lot of people say, ‘control what you can control’ and that’s what I live by. I spend time with my family, live life, smile, work my butt off. I’m a big believer in no matter what, the things that you want to accomplish, you’ve got to visualize it, you’ve got to work for it,” Barkley said. “All the things I want to obtain are still out there for me to obtain. That’s how I’ve got to live by it. There are going to be setbacks. There’s going to be adversity – not just as a football player, but in anything you do in life.
“Just because you have a little adversity, little setbacks, doesn’t mean you’ve got to start listening to all the noise. You’ve got to ignore the noise, put your head down and keep working and have faith and have belief that all the hard work that you put in is going to come to light.”