Giants' Saquon Barkley Says He's 'Doing Really Well' in Rehab from Knee Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2021

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) walks to the bench during a practice at the NFL football team's training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

While he's satisfied with how his recovery from a torn ACL is going, New York Giants star Saquon Barkley was noncommittal about when he'll return to the field.

Barkley told the Associated Press' Rob Maaddi on the AP Pro Football Podcast he's "doing really well in rehab":

"Very lucky to have a great team around me, great trainers, great doctors. Everyone has been very beneficial to me and very helpful to me. So whenever the opportunity I'm able to get back on the football field with my team, I'm definitely going to cherish that moment and I just honestly can't wait for that day to happen soon."

Barkley's 2020 season ended midway through New York's Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sept. 20. Maaddi noted the typical recovery period for major ACL injuries is 10 months or less, which would put Barkley on track to play in the Giants' 2021 opener.

The 23-year-old explained how the rehab process takes a physical and mental toll:

"You have to start all over and you have to teach yourself how to walk, jog, run, sprint, cut and all that stuff again. But the mental part, especially when I hurt myself, at the moment I felt I was letting all my teammates down. To watch those guys on Sundays was very emotional. But everything happens for a reason. I have to continue to work. You control the things I can control and let the rest take over."

The fear for the Giants obviously centers around how effective Barkley will be once he's back to 100 percent.

The former Penn State star was excellent as a rookie, leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,028). He took a slight step backward in 2019, running for 1,003 yards and six touchdowns while catching 52 passes for 438 yards and two scores.

Still, the impact of Barkley's absence was evident as the Giants averaged the second-fewest yards per game (299.6) in the league. Daniel Jones finished as the team's second-leading rusher (423 yards) behind Wayne Gallman.

Adrian Peterson famously came back from a torn ACL and MCL in December 2011 to run for 2,097 yards in 2012. Jamaal Charles made three straight Pro Bowls following his torn ACL in 2011, too.

The Giants will hope Barkley is another success story given how Jones' development stagnated in his sophomore campaign. New York needs to have consistent running game to take some of the pressure off the young quarterback's shoulders.