Saquon Barkley’s Football Career Benched During ACL Recovery


Keith Allison

Giants at Redskins 12/09/18

On September 20th, 2020, the Giants’ star running back, Saquon Barkley, tore his ACL during a game against the Chicago Bears. An ACL tear occurs when the tissue band connecting the thigh bone to the shinbone becomes damaged. This injury is detrimental in active sports, such as football, as it causes the knee to become very unstable making running and jumping difficult. Following the injury, Saquon Barkley’s season was thrown out the window as he physically could not attend any more games of the season. This begs the question, will Barkley ever return to the NFL? And if he does, will he be able to play at the same quality as before?


A torn ACL is one of the hardest injuries to recover from. Many sports players’ careers, especially football players, have completely ended due to them. In the 2017-2018 NFL season, 51 individuals suffered from the same season-ending injury that famous New York Football Giants player Saquon Barkley did. Statistics show that of the 51, 42 managed to return for at least one more game. That’s around 80% or 4/5 of the injured players. Based on this, the chances are that Barkley will be able to continue playing the sport he loves. However, the players who did manage to recover could typically only play at 1/3 of the level they used to be at. This being said, there is still hope for number 26. In fact, a few NFL players that suffered from the same injury actually returned better than before. Take Tom Brady’s ACL tear back in 2008. After his return, he was still able to win 4 more Super Bowls and is still competing. It is not unheard of for a great player such as Barkley to make a full recovery. 


So how exactly has Saquon Barkley been recovering? In an email interview, the New York Giants’ Chief of Staff, Ryan Hollern, stated, “Saquon is working hard everyday to rehabilitate his torn ACL that happened during the Bears game. He works with athletic trainers and physical therapists many hours a day. His rehabilitation consists of a few key areas including knee motion, quadriceps strength as well as leg balance, stability and control.” Additionally, posts from his Instagram account reveal that he has been working with weighted sleds and has already started practicing catching drills. It is evident that Barkley is doing everything he can to get back into playing condition. His injury has not stopped him from working hard just like he has always been doing on and off the field.


Despite the great progress Saquon Barkley has been making, returning to the world of football will still require lots of time. “Standard ACL rehab takes 7-9 months.” Since Barkley’s surgery commenced on October 30th, he is expected to be ready sometime between July and August of 2021.  But there is a chance that this will not be the case. Ryan Hollern, the Giants’ Chief of Staff, stated, “The Giants will not rush [Saquon Barkley] back on the field until he is 100% healthy.” While Giants fans will undoubtedly have mixed feelings to know their star running back might not be playing on opening day, it is the safest option for Barkley. In the past, players, such as Robert Griffin III have been put into the game prematurely following their terrible injuries. This almost always results in their injuries becoming even worse. Barkley should be ready before the start of the season at the rate he is progressing now, but people need to be prepared for everything.


All things considered, Barkley’s recovery has been very successful. So far, it is expected that he will return to the Giants, but it is still unclear whether or not he will revert to the same explosive player he was a year ago. Nonetheless, Barkley has been doing everything he can to repair his torn ACL and get back into the flow of playing football. Though it will be some time until the star is ready to play in the NFL again, fans of the Giants can hope and await for Barkley to dominate on the field again when he returns.