The New York Giants can relax. Their shiny new running back, No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley, avoided a serious injury when he went down at practice on Monday.
According to coach Pat Shurmur, Barkely suffered only a mild strain.
RB Saquon Barkley left practice early after stretching out for a long reception. His left leg was wrapped the remainder of practice. Coach Shurmur said this afternoon after Barkley had been examined, “Saquon has a mild strain, and we’ll be smart with him as we move along here.”— New York Giants (@Giants) August 13, 2018
The injury occurred during practice when Barkley hauled in a deep ball down the left sideline. According to the New York Daily News, he "walked off the field gingerly." His leg would eventually be wrapped.
Saquon Barkley was checked by trainers after this big play. He’s walking around now but has his left leg wrapped. #Giants pic.twitter.com/CIWCCJsuuv— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) August 13, 2018
But Barkley is OK. And now, the Giants would be smart to tread carefully. Put another way, there's not much to gain by playing him against the Lions on Friday in their second preseason game. In their preseason opener, Barkley already demonstrated that he's ready for the speed and physicality of the NFL. It took him exactly one carry to prove that.
This doesn't look like a rookie who desperately needs preseason action to adapt to the NFL. It looks like a player they'll need when the regular season begins.
Welcome to the NFL, @saquon! 😯😯😯 #CLEvsNYG pic.twitter.com/PYG6KPhdKp— NFL (@NFL) August 9, 2018
If Barkley sits Friday, he'll still have another chance to get in reps when the Giants play the Jets on Aug. 24 in their third preseason game before presumably sitting out with the rest of the starters for the team's final preseason contest. At this point, the only thing that matters is having Barkley completely healthy for start of the regular season.
The Giants open up the season against the Jaguars -- a team that was a Tom Brady comeback away from reaching the Super Bowl last season, a team that figures to trot out one of the game's best defenses. To pull off an early upset, a fully healthy Barkley will be needed.