Why the Giants Shouldn't Rush Saquon Barkley Back

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley continued to amaze onlookers when he not only was running but also jumping around during the part of practice open to the media. But here's why it doesn't make sense to rush him back.

Giants tight end Evan Engram smiled when he was asked about running back Saquon Barkley’s seemingly miraculous recovery from a high ankle sprain suffered not even two weeks ago.

“I don’t know how—that’s just crazy,” Engram said when talking about Barkley’s ability not only to ditch the crutches and walking boot he was in after suffering his injury int heh second half of the Giants Week 3 win at Tampa.

“I think his body is just made in a lab.”

As if Giants fans needed another reason to love the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, missing practices and games goes against all that Barkley believes in.

And while there is certainly no question that the Giants are a much better team with Barkley in the lineup, they would be doing themselves and Barley a considerable disservice if they were to rush him back before he was physically ready, which as of Thursday, despite the show he put on for reporters during the team’s warmups, he is not.

The most visible evidence supporting the belief that Barkley probably ready to return was captured on video by Dan Duggan of The Athletic. 

Despite Barkley’s dancing and moving around as though nothing ever happened, when it came time to take a leap as part of the teams warmup exercises, he avoided landing on his injured right foot.

That is perhaps the most definite sign that while he is making rapid progress, he’s still not fully ready to return to live-action where leaping over piles is part of the job description. 

Shurmur, for what it’s worth, has said in the past that he and his staff usually meet to discuss who’s playing and who isn’t on Fridays, thus allowing Shurmur to play with semantics when he says the running back hasn’ been ruled out yet.

Assuming the Giants do play it safe with Barkley (and they should if for no other reason than to avoid putting one of their most important players in a position to where he could make the injury worse and need off-season ankle surgery), the next question is when Barkley might return?

If the Giants were playing the Patriots, who by the way have the league’s second-best run defense (61.2 yards per game) in Week 6 on a Sunday instead of a Thursday, that game might make sense assuming Barkley didn’t have any setbacks in his recovery.

However, a benefit of playing on Thursday night is the Giants will have ten days before their Week 7 game against Arizona, who right now has the league’s 28th ranked run defense (146.5 yards per game).

The bottom line is there is still a lot of the season left to where the Giants and Barkley can and should take the time necessary to ensure that his recovery and return are handled the right way. 

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