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Saquon Barkley, other injured Giants improving with Cardinals up next

New York Giants' Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley got his team’s fanbase excited Sunday with an optimistic tweet.

“I’ll be back soon….” reads the post, which also included smirking and fingers crossed emojis.

Barkley was moving around during Giants practice Monday morning after he’d participated in limited fashion last week. Recovering from a high ankle sprain that was projected to keep him out six to eight weeks, Barkley is teasing that his return could come Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, which would be just four weeks since the injury.

“He’s got to handle practice well and be ready to play,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Monday to New York area reporters, including “He practiced today, so we’ll see when he comes in tomorrow, how he feels.”

But Barkley isn’t the only New York offensive player who hopes to return, giving rookie quarterback Daniel Jones an injection of talent.

Tight end Evan Engram told reporters he is “pretty optimistic” he can return from a knee injury against the Cardinals.

Receiver Sterling Shepard, who suffered two concussions this year about a month apart, remains in the NFL’s concussion assessment protocol, reports Shepard, who has 25 catches for 267 yards in four games played this season, was able to go through light workouts on Monday.

Also under watch for concussion symptoms is running back Wayne Gallman, Barkley’s backup. Gallman didn’t play last week.

Instead, undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman took 11 carries for 38 yards Thursday in a 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots but fumbled once. He has since been cut.

Over the weekend, New York signed former Ravens running back Buck Allen, who could potentially play depending on the availability of Barkley and Gallman.

The Giants will be pleased if any of the injured offensive players can make a return.

Jones went 15-of-31 for 161 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions last week against the Patriots. The sixth overall pick’s top target was veteran receiver Golden Tate, who caught six balls for 102 yards and a score.

Rookie fifth-round pick Darius Slayton and tight end Rhett Ellison were the only other two Giants who received more than two targets. They each had three catches.

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