Saquon Barkley remains limited in practice but hopes to return this week

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Giants running back Saquon Barkley has missed the past four games since injuring his ankle against the Cowboys in Week 5. Barkley remained limited in Friday’s practice but is trending toward returning for Monday night’s game against the Buccaneers.

“I think at first no one thought that (it was going to be that long), but when the MRIs came back, obviously we knew it was going to be a little more difficult than we thought,” Barkley said Friday, via quotes distributed by the team. “I’ve just been keeping my head down and coming to work every single day.”

Barkley has much riding on the rest of the season.

He has not shown an ability to stay healthy since 2018 when he won offensive rookie of the year and made the Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,307 yards, while gaining 2,028 scrimmage yards. In the three seasons since, Barkley has played 20 games, missed 21 games and has totaled 1,232 rushing yards and 1,860 yards from scrimmage.

The Giants exercised the fifth-year option on Barkley’s rookie contract for 2022.

“You live life, you know what I mean? I can’t control that,” Barkley said. “A lot of people say, ‘control what you can control’ and that’s what I live by. I spend time with my family, live life, smile, work my butt off. I’m a big believer in no matter what, the things that you want to accomplish, you’ve got to visualize it; you’ve got to work for it. All the things I want to obtain are still out there for me to obtain. That’s how I’ve got to live by it. There are going to be setbacks. There’s going to be adversity, not just as a football player, but in anything you do in life. Just because you have a little adversity, little setbacks, doesn’t mean you’ve got to start listening to all the noise. You’ve got to ignore the noise, put your head down and keep working and have faith and have belief that all the hard work that you put in is going to come to light.”

Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who missed the previous two games with an ankle injury, did not practice again because of a stomach bug. Receiver Sterling Shepard (quad) and safety Nate Ebner (knee) also did not practice Friday.

Tight end Kaden Smith (knee), who did not participate Thursday, was limited Friday as were running back Devontae Booker (hip) and fullback Cullen Gillaspia (calf).

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