Running back Saquon Barkley said his goal is to get "one percent better" every day as he rehabilitates from a knee injury that ended his season with the New York Giants on Sept. 20.
In his first news conference since the injury, Barkley said Thursday that he has "no doubt" he will return to form next season for the Giants. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus and strained his medial collaterate ligament.
He had surgery on Oct. 30, and the delay allowed the MCL to heal.
"The likelihood of me coming back to 100 percent, what they're saying is it's kind of all on how you attack it," Barkley, 23, said. "You have to be smart with the first six or seven weeks, obviously because of the meniscus repair. I'm continuing to be smart with it. At the end of the day, they say when you do a ACL reconstruction, the ACL becomes ten times stronger."
The Giants took Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and he had a stellar rookie season that culminated in a Pro Bowl selection. He led the NFL with 2,208 yards from scrimmage and chipped in 15 touchdowns.
Limited to 13 games last season because of a high-ankle sprain, he ran for 1,003 yards and added 438 receiving yards, scoring eight touchdowns.
"I'm just going to continue to attack every day, continue to put my body in shape for however long I continue to play for to have a successful season. Hopefully it works out for me that way," Barkley said. "I had an injury last year, I was able to overcome that and I had an injury this year. This is another challenge in the way that I have to be ready to face."
Barkley said the days after this season's injury included some "dark places" but things have been brightened by watching his teammates lately. After a 1-7 start, the Giants are 4-7 and tied with the Washington Football Team for first place in the NFC East.
"When we win, you still feel that joy even though I'm not on the field. It's also that sitting on the couch watching and you feel helpless. You can't do anything, you can't help your team at all," he said. "I would say Sundays are the toughest days, but the last three weeks they have been pretty good."
The Giants will face a tough test on the road Sunday when they meet the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks (8-3).
--Field Level Media