Pro Football Doc: The Bad News On Saquon Barkley Is Not That Bad

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The New York Giants star running back will not participate in OTAs and will be held out of the beginning of training camp and worked into the season slowly. There is also confirmation that his injury was more than an ACL tear.

Not to worry. I still believe Saquon Barkley will have a successful 2021 campaign. The news is not new or surprising.

When Barkley got injured, based on video, we postulated at that it was more than an ACL. We believed he’d also injured the MCL. Thus, the complexity of the injuries is not a surprise. News of a meniscus repair means longer short-term recovery, but it will also mean better protection for his knee long term.

It is smart for a team to take it slowly and not rush biology, especially for a franchise player. This doesn’t mean he won’t be ready and have success. It is better for an athlete to progress half a step too slow than to move a little too fast and risk setback.

All of the offseason workout videos of Barkley that I have seen show great progress as we have discussed in the OutKick ProFootballDoc podcasts. Since he sustained the injury early in the season in Week 2, he will have had almost a full year of recovery by the time he plays in meaningful games once again. As an offensive player, he can have more control and dictate his cuts, as opposed to a defensive player who has to react. Finally, given his superior talent, a 95% Barkley is better than most of the league.

Admittedly, Saquon will get stronger as the season progresses. He will need to work his way into full form, but I expect a very productive season from him. The Giants have also signed him to the 5th year option, which shows confidence in his knee.

My suggestion is to let your fantasy league think that Barkley not practicing and not being ready is bad news. Hopefully, you can all draft a bargain.

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Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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