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Saquon Barkley takes another step in his return from knee injury

NBC Sports logo NBC Sports 8/26/2021 Charean Williams
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Saquon Barkley was on the field for a joint practice with the Patriots on Thursday, though he wore a red non-contact jersey. The Giants running back missed Wednesday’s work for personal reasons.

Barkley took part in 7-on-7 red zone drills to start practice before returning for two competitive 11-on-11 team sessions late. It was another step as he works his way back from the knee injury that prematurely ended his 2020 season.

“It felt good,” Barkley said after practice. “Obviously, I wasn’t at practice yesterday, but it feels good being with the team, feels good to get a couple of team reps. It’s just fun to be able to play football again, feel like a little kid and just taking it day by day.”

Barkely’s availability for the season opener against the Giants remains a question. He tore an ACL in Week 2 against the Bears last year and also needed the meniscus repaired while damage to the medial collateral ligament healed on its own.

The Giants will continue to take a deliberate approach in Barkley’s return, with coach Joe Judge saying Thursday the team will “manage his volume.”

“Within the realm of what I was doing, I was 100 percent,” Barkley said. “I didn’t get to really open up. They kind of blew the whistle. I personally think maybe it would have been a different outcome there. I’m going 100 percent with what I’m able to do, but continue as we get more reps and I get more team reps and more work in, more of those natural reps are going to come in.”

Barkley concedes it will take some time for him to get back to where he was. Barkley played 87 percent of the offensive snaps in the season opener last season and had 21 touches.

He has averaged 20.8 offensive snaps in the 31 games he has played in his career.

“All of that is going to come back just naturally, just with the game and playing football,” Barkley said. “Obviously, I am going to be a little behind than where I was when I last left off. That just naturally happens when you don’t play football for 11 months, 12 months, (whatever) it is.

“My eyes are going to be alright, because I’ve been watching a lot of film and watching a lot of practice. It’s different than watching and actually going out there and assimilating with the speed. It’s just trusting my steps, trusting my footwork, trusting the scheme and the line blocking, and all that stuff will come back together.”

Saquon Barkley takes another step in his return from knee injury originally appeared on Pro Football Talk

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