Saquon Barkley 'Definitely' Ready for Full Workload After Hamstring Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 3, 2018

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley looks on from the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in East Rutherford. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will be ready to go for Sunday's season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com noted the rookie suffered a hamstring injury on Aug. 13 and hasn't appeared in game action since the preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns. However, he has since returned to practice and declared himself healthy with the regular season looming.

"I definitely think I'm ready for a full [workload] the way I've been preparing and practicing," Barkley said Monday.

The Penn State product played a mere six snaps throughout the entirety of preseason, but he assured those who are worried about his conditioning he will be OK. 

"I feel in really good physical football shape because in practice doing extra stuff with [Stewart] on the sideline, running and conditioning there," Barkley said. "I was running the whole time I was out. That's more like running track speed, conditioning shape. The first day I got back I was a little winded because ... the best comparison is like a high school basketball player they understand going from football condition to basketball season. Two completely different conditioning. But I definitely feel pretty good in football shape right now."

New York also has Wayne Gallman and Jonathan Stewart as options in the rushing attack, but the presence of Barkley is why expectations are high after the team struggled to move the ball on the ground last year.

The Giants selected Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, and he should provide a boost to a group that was an ugly 26th in the league in rushing yards per game in 2017. Those totals will need to improve if New York is going to contend in the NFC East because it will force defenders into the box and open up throwing lanes for Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.

Barkley comes to New York after a dominant collegiate career that saw him win the 2016 and 2017 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards. He ran for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns and tallied 54 catches for 632 yards and three scores last season. He gives the Giants another dynamic playmaker alongside Beckham.

Barkley will be put to the test right away against a Jaguars defense that was second in the league in points allowed last season, but he is apparently healthy and will not be limited. 

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