Caution tape might well be strewn across wherever it is that New York's star running back is rehabbing.
Updates aplenty throughout the offseason have offered little in terms of a timetable for Saquon Barkley's return from an ACL tear and Giants head coach Joe Judge stressed that caution is the preeminent factor when it comes to Barkley hitting the field running.
"It's still under a year [from his surgery] so I want to make sure we are very conscious what we do with him," Judge said in an interview with Newsday. "We're just wanting to make sure that when he's fully ready to go we put him out there. He's definitely been working his butt off this summer and he's made a lot of progress and he's anxious to get out there, but we want to make sure we make the right decision for him and the team so that when we do put him out there he can stay out there."
Barkley missed the final 14 games of last season after tearing his ACL, but has showcased his agility in sidestepping any firm designation on when he'll return in update after update this offseason, though none of them have truly provided updates.
The 2018 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was placed on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp, which begins Wednesday.
Questions will carry on in abundant fashion throughout camp until Barkley actually returns to practicing with the team, but Judge was adamant that won't happen until he's ready to be a full-go.
"Until a player can get in with our team in practice and go full speed, we'll never ask them to go against an opponent full speed," Judge said.
Per Newsday, Judge described what he's seen of Barkley's offseason workouts on his road to recovery as "very impressive," but that he was "not fully ready to go." And the second-year Big Blue coach clarified that there's a large difference between looking good and being good enough to go against live competition.
"There is a big difference between rehab, running through bags, and running through a hole, sticking your foot in the ground while someone is trying to tackle you at full speed," Judge said.
With his PUP designation entering camp, Barkley can be taken off at any time, but as unclear as the running back's been about when he'll return, his head coach was clear that return won't happen until, as aforementioned, he's "fully ready."
As all eyes are currently on Barkley returning to the practice field, the biggest question at hand remains and that's whether Barkley, who's played in just 15 of a possible 32 games over the past two seasons, will be ready for Week 1 against the Denver Broncos.