New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley continues to inch toward possibly playing in the regular-season opener versus the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, Barkley participated in live drills during Thursday's joint practice session with the New England Patriots ahead of Sunday's preseason finale between the two clubs. The 24-year-old had not yet taken part in such drills during his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered on Sept. 20 of last year.
As had been expected, Barkley wore a red jersey and, thus, avoided all physical contact. Head coach Joe Judge has said the ball-carrier must face contact in a practice before returning to the lineup for a meaningful game. Barkley will likely be a spectator on Sunday but admitted he wasn't concerned about experiencing a setback while working out Thursday.
"When I caught the ball, I wasn't even thinking about my knee or anything," he told reporters. "That kind of naturally happens. It's like I said before when we talked, the stuff where it's easier for me in the rehab process is when we were assimilating football stuff. So much stuff is going [on] out there on the football field, it really takes your mind off of it. I would say that's a positive sign."
The Giants have been extremely cautious with bringing Barkley back, but he said on Aug. 9 he "wouldn’t really be worried" about facing opposing defenders for the first time in Week 1 next month.