saquon barkley
Syndication: The Record

The Giants activated Saquon Barkley off the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday. He subsequently practiced with the team.

Saquon Barkley and the team that drafted him back in 2018 took a massive step in regard to the former’s ACL tear rehab Monday. The Giantsactivated their starting running back, who last played in a game in September 2020, off the Physically Unable to Perform list. Barkley found himself on the PUP list last month as training camp was approaching.

Saquon thus practiced with the team for the first time since the injury.

His activation was the talk of the town, but plans for this to occur were already made over the weekend.

“Saturday, I found out…we went over how I felt, and I think I got to a point in rehab where running against garbage cans and cutting on cones and stuff, it’s all good but now I’m at the point where I can start reacting off of other athletes…it’s just one more step on that journey of getting me back,” Barkley told the media Monday. “The best part of it is to be back out there with my teammates and just being able to practice.”

Barkley hasn’t revealed when he’ll be taking part in regular-season games. There’s still the chance he suits up for the Week 1 matchup with Denver (Sunday, Sept. 12) but he also may not return until Week 2 against Washington (Thursday, Sept. 16) or 3 against Atlanta (Sunday, Sept. 26).

At first, Saquon taking part in a preseason game seemed like a highly unlikely occurrence, but that may not be the case. Head coach Joe Judge isn’t closing the door on the running back playing in one of the exhibition matchups following this Saturday’s preseason game against the Jets.

Is Saquon ready to take the field so soon?

“I’m all for whatever is going to help the team win,” the fourth-year player said. “If that’s the mindset that coach Judge and [director of rehabilitation] Leigh [Weiss] and the training staff believe in and they want to see me get live reps in an actual preseason game — if they feel that’s what I need to do to get myself back for whenever I’m able to come back for my team, I’m willing to do that…I believe the way to success is having that team mindset and that’s never going to change for me.”

Barkley’s absence against the Jets will clear the way for a number of projected reserve backs to earn reps, including Devontae Booker, Corey Clement, Alfred Morris, and rookie Gary Brightwell.

It may also be an opportunity for the aforementioned individuals to prove to the coaching staff they could take the bulk of the load if Barkley needs to miss time at the start of the regular season.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.