Being away from his teammates on the football field has been the toughest part of Saquon Barkley's injury rehab.
"It's the football thing, just missing being out there," the New York Giants running back said Wednesday when asked about the most challenging part of his torn ACL recovery.
He added, "To be able to watch and see (my teammates) out there and not being able to participate with them right now, those are the toughest things."
Barkley, 24, suffered a season-ending ACL tear in September and underwent surgery in October. The 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year says he's "doing well" and can't wait to return but doesn't want to rush himself.
"I'm going to take it one day at a time, come in with my head down and ready to work," Barkley said, adding, "There's nothing that's going to be forced for me to come back. It's going to be whenever my body tells me I'm ready and it will show when I'm ready to go. That's when I'll be able to go out there and be, hopefully, as good as I was before or even better."
The 2018 second overall pick took the NFL by storm as a rookie, leading the league with 2,208 scrimmage yards while also scoring 15 touchdowns. Barkley missed three games due to injury during his sophomore season but was still able to top 1,000 rushing yards and find the end zone eight times.
Barkley refused to guarantee he'll be on the field when the Giants kick off their 2021 campaign against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12.
"(My teammates) want me out there when they know I can be out there," he said. "For me, it's coming to into work every single day so I can be a help to my team and we have a successful season."