Saquon: 'No doubt' ankle would hold up in game

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley wouldn’t declare himself back for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. He would only go as far as saying he’s “day-to-day.”

But Barkley did express the opinion that the right ankle he sprained in a Week 3 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would hold up fine in a game.

“No doubt in my mind,” Barkley said Thursday.

The Pro Bowl running back has missed three games with a high ankle sprain. He’s expected to return against the Cardinals after being listed as a full participant at practice this week.

The only obstacle remaining appears to be Barkley getting final approval from the team’s medical staff at the end of the week. It should happen, barring a setback. The Giants’ leading rusher is trending in the right direction.

Barkley, who still leads the team with 237 yards rushing, hasn’t felt or noticed anything with the ankle while handling the increased workload this week.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “Taking it day by day.”

Coach Pat Shurmur said Barkley and tight end Evan Engram “did fine” at Thursday’s practice. He thought they were progressing.

Barkley spent the past 25 days rehabbing the ankle. His routine has included early-morning treatment and physical therapy.

More than anything, Barkley said he missed playing the game. Sources indicated he wanted to return last Thursday against the New England Patriots, but didn’t receive medical clearance.

Barkley wants to get back on the field.

“Really bad,” he said. “That is every Sunday. Every Thursday. Any time we get a chance to play the game.”

The Giants played last week with undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman and fullback Elijhaa Penny as their primary running backs. Barkley and Wayne Gallman (concussion) are expected to be back this week.

They also signed veteran Buck Allen earlier this week.

Barkley spent last week watching the game with a group that included wide receiver Sterling Shepard and Engram. All three missed the game with injuries.

Engram (knee) has also been a full participant in practice this week and is expected to return. Shepard (concussion) is likely to miss at least one more week.

“Angry Saquon” should be on the field. He has been forced to watch the Giants lose their past two games.

“I guess you can say Angry Saquon, but it’s going to be more just appreciation because when you actually get the game taken away from you — don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not a season-ending injury, it was an injury that took me out for a couple weeks — but when you’re passionate about this game and when you have to step away from it and watch your teammates go out there and you have to be in a box looking down and can’t really do much for your team, makes you understand how much you actually care and appreciate this game.

“So it’s going to be more a person who appreciates the game and just try to go out there and do whatever it takes to win for his teammates.”

So does that mean this is the week? He’s ready to guarantee a return?

“Nah, I’m just taking it day by day,” he said, “and I’ll guess we’ll see.”

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