The New York Giants running back, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3, has been running and cutting at practice this week when most humanoids would be hobbling around like a pegged-legged tinman.
Barkley got in side work Thursday, but it wasn't enough for the Giants to declare him limited in practice. He was officially listed as did not participate.
Still, Barkley cutting suggests he could return well before the initial timetable of four-to-six weeks.
"What was the timeframe I was given?" Barkley said Thursday. "I don't know. I never really was given a timeframe. It was kind of, I guess, released six to eight weeks, I guess. I think everybody is different. Everybody has different opinions."
Barkley suggested after he injured the ankle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he wouldn't be out for long, noting he bounced back quickly when suffering a similar injury at Penn State.
"My mindset is not going to change from the day I got hurt," Barkley said Thursday. "I wasn't going to allow myself to take a negative approach to it. I'm a big believer in healing. A lot of it is mental also too. And just trusting the trainers. They've been doing a great job. Not only my trainers here but my physical therapists all went outside of football have been doing a good job with me too. Just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win games."
While other mortals wonder at how Barkley can cut on the injured ankle, the running back isn't surprised by his early progress.
"Is it surprising to y'all? I mean, me personally I feel like, like I said, I feel like a lot of it is mental, how you approach it," he said. "I told you guys that the same way I attack the field, same way I attack the weight room. I'm going to attack the training room and attack recovery and rehab. I think I've been doing that."
Coach Pat Shurmur didn't rule out Barkley for Sunday's tilt against the Minnesota Vikings. It would mark a stunning turnaround if he is cleared to play this soon, but the 22-year-old said he's preparing and would abide by whatever decision the team makes.
"I trust their decision," he said. "They've been doing a great job for me with rehab. And just being honest and just being open with me. Whatever they would like me to do, I'm willing to do. I'm always a competitor. I'm always going to do whatever it takes to help my team win. If they feel like that's not this Sunday, then it's not this Sunday."
Whether or not it's this Sunday, given how he's progressed so far chances are Barkley will be back sooner than initially speculated.