Saquon Barkley was, once again, a full practice participant for the Giants on Thursday. So it's safe to say he'll be available for the team when they play the Cardinals on Sunday, right?
"Taking it day-by-day," the star running back told the media after practice. "This week of practice, obviously you guys all know that I've been fully participating. ...Hopefully be out there for my teammates soon."
That's been Barkley's go-to phrase to use throughout this process of healing very quickly from his high ankle sprain he sustained against the Bucs in Week 3. But Barkley also had a wide smile on his face when asked if he just has to wait for the doctors to officially clear him, repeating that he will take things day-by-day.
It's evident at practice, though, that Barkley appears in no pain as he makes full cuts and runs at full speed. He might have been doing the same things last week in preparation for a potential return against the Patriots, but Barkley explained why this week has been different.
"With this injury, day-by-day and week-by-week, you continue to get better and better," Barkley said. "You really can't tell because last week I was taking reps individually and I was running routes, but it's a difference when you actually have to react and make cuts going against the scout team, going against the defense. So that's the biggest difference."
After missing three games -- the first three of his early career -- Barkley is itching to get back on the field. The Giants' run game hasn't been the same since he left, especially when Wayne Gallman was sidelined with a concussion. Jon Hilliman, who has since been released, and Eli Penny had to work as the running backs against New England in Week 6.
Now with Barkley expected to be back, as well as Gallman being a full practice participant on Thursday, the ground game is getting back to normal. And Barkley knows he'll be able to come right in and make an impact instead of being eased back into his starting role.
"No, no doubt in my mind," he said about playing a full game.
So, Giants fans, Barkley may not be saying he's available on Sunday. But the first official injury report on Friday to say who's in, questionable, and doubtful will be released.
By the way things are looking, especially from Barkley's reaction to questions about being ready to play, he should be in the healthy section of that report. And if that is the case, he can't wait to get back on the field.
"Really bad," Barkley said when asked how bad he wants to return. "You know, that's every Sunday, every Thursday, any time we get a chance to play a game."