EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants game against the Minnesota Vikings is now just three days away, and Pat Shurmur is still refusing to rule Saquon Barkley out.
Just how likely the miracle comeback actually is for the Giants star running back remains unclear, but Barkley continued to take steps in that unlikely direction on Thursday morning. As he did on Wednesday, Barkley warmed up with his teammates, jogging and stretching, and then went to the side to work with trainers when the Giants began individual drills.
Was Barkley going to join practice at some point on Thursday?
"We'll see," was all Shurmur would say before practice began. But he made it clear, he is leaving the door open for Sunday, and the coach explained that he would definitely say that Barkley's return against the Vikings is a realistic possibility.
"Yeah, I would," Shurmur said. "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."
Barkley's return just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain during a game in Tampa would be remarkable, especially considering the initial timeframe according to Giants sources was that he was expected to miss a month or more. The usual recovery time for a high ankle sprain is six-to-eight weeks.
But Barkley is proving to be anything but a usual player.
"I think we've already seen there's a lot of things about Saquon that are unique," Shurmur said. "We just have to see if this is another part of his uniqueness."
Shurmur said a decision won't be made on Barkley until Friday, at the earliest, when NFL teams first have to declare a player's status for a Sunday game. He also indicated that Barkley might not have to practice this week in order for him to play on Sunday, though Shurmur did say "I think there's certain things we need to see a player do before we deem him ready to play."