H.S. FOOT­BALL FAN GUIDE FREE­DOM’S ROEDER ON VERGE OF A MILE­STONE

Barkley should re­turn sooner than ex­pected from an­kle sprain

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Pat Leonard

Saquon Barkley smiled and bit his tongue at his locker Thurs­day, clearly aware that the world is in awe of his rapid heal­ing pow­ers and jus­ti­fi­ably proud of it too.

“My mind­set was not go­ing to change from the day I got hurt,” Barkley, 22, said with con­vic­tion. “I wasn’t go­ing to al­low my­self to take a neg­a­tive ap­proach to it.

“I’m a big believer that with heal­ing, a lot of it is men­tal.”

The Giants’ star run­ning back still prob­a­bly isn’t go­ing to will his way back onto the field for Sun­day’s game against the Min­nesota Vik­ings, es­pe­cially if it re­quires fight­ing back against his doc­tors’ and train­ers’ ad­vice.

“I wouldn’t say I’m go­ing to fight it,” Barkley said. “We have a great team on the field and off the field. I trust their de­ci­sion. They’re do­ing a great job with me in re­hab and be­ing hon­est and open with me. What­ever they’d like me to do, I’m will­ing to do.

“I’m al­ways a com­peti­tor. I’m al­ways go­ing to do what it takes to help my team win. And if they feel like that’s not this Sun­day, then it’s not this Sun­day.”

Barkley’s in­creased work­load and his pro­fessed con­fi­dence in his health, how­ever, made clear that he in­tends to shat­ter the ini­tial six-to-eight-week timetable for his recovery.

He did not prac­tice Thurs­day, but he was plant­ing, cut­ting, stut­ter-step­ping and “got to open up and run full speed”

on the side, just 11 days af­ter the in­jury.

Oct. 10 at New Eng­land sounds like it’s on the ta­ble. That would be 18 days af­ter his Sept. 22 sprain in Tampa, and it would mimic how Barkley missed only two games as a Penn State fresh­man in 2015 with the same in­jury.

Barkley wouldn’t dis­miss that line of think­ing ei­ther, say­ing they were “both high an­kle sprains.”

“I’m just happy to be back out there with my team­mates, to get back on the field,” he said, play­ing it coy about pos­si­bly play­ing Sun­day.

“I have one more day, Fri­day, to get on the field and get ready for the Vik­ings.”

Pat Shur­mur again re­fused to rule Barkley out for the game.

“Yeah, and I would” con­sider Sun­day a pos­si­bil­ity, Shur­mur said. “I think we check con­stantly with our doc­tors and we make sure that he’s on the right

track to come back. So we’ll just see.

“And re­ally if you think about this glob­ally, peo­ple out­side the build­ing put time frames on things. But within the build­ing we know that all peo­ple are dif­fer­ent.

“That’s why you’ll hear us say typ­i­cally day to day or week to week. And that’s where we are with all in­juries. be­cause as dif­fer­ent as peo­ple are, they re­spond dif­fer­ently to in­juries, and some­times the in­juries are more or less se­vere but still get cat­e­go­rized as this.

“That’s where I think we have to be care­ful when peo­ple are try­ing to pre­dict when a player comes back.”

Shur­mur’s point is well taken. Barkley is dif­fer­ent.

The Daily News asked Barkley, for ex­am­ple, if he were ac­tu­ally re­cov­er­ing this quickly or if he sim­ply had a higher tol­er­ance for pain.

“I think you posted a video on that and said ‘wow’ or ‘how’ when I made a cut,” Barkley said, re­fer­ring to a video on the News’ In­sta­gram ac­count of him plant­ing and cut­ting on his right foot at Thurs­day’s prac­tice.

“I think if you ever make a cut like that, I don’t think that’s pain.”

Barkley said part of the rea­son is he’s been “at­tack­ing” the train­ing room and his re­hab just as ag­gres­sively as he at­tacks prac­tices and weight room work. He said he “never re­ally was given a time frame” even though six to eight weeks was ini­tially re­ported.

“I think ev­ery­body is dif­fer­ent,” Barkley said. “But ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent opin­ions.”

Barkley said he saw two doc­tors: Giants team con­sul­tant Dr. Martin O’Mal­ley on Sept. 23 and spe­cial­ist Dr. Robert An­der­son on Sept. 25 be­cause they are “two of the best in the world at what they do.”

“I wouldn’t say the ad­vice was the same but one saw me a lit­tle bit ear­lier than the other,” Barkley said. “So I think you got to see two dif­fer­ent kinds of an­kles at that point.”

Said Shur­mur: “We’ve al­ready seen there are a lot of things about Saquon that are unique. So we’ll just have to see if this is an­other part of his unique­ness.”

BILL KOSTROUN/ AP

Giants RB Saquon Barkley’s in­creased work­load and his pro­fessed con­fi­dence in his health made clear Thurs­day that he in­tends to shat­ter the ini­tial six-toeight-week timetable for his recovery from a high an­kle sprain.

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