The New York Giants had a miraculous comeback win against the Arizona Cardinals, but the road to victory came at a price.
On the team’s game-winning drive that resulted in a Graham Gano field goal for the 31-28 victory, star running back Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle injury that had him limping to the sideline.
After undergoing an MRI, the Giants learned that Barkley suffered an “ordinary” ankle sprain that will keep him sidelined for three weeks, according to ESPN.
The Giants’ next three games are against the San Francisco 49ers, which comes on “Thursday Night Football” this week, Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. All three opponents are playoff hopefuls in 2023, making Barkley’s loss hurt that much more for Big Blue.
There’s no debating that the Giants are worse when Barkley is off the field as his versatility as one of the NFL’s elite running backs creates headaches for defenses each week. Barkley scored twice, one rushing and one receiving, in the Giants’ second-half comeback on Sunday.
New York, though, has gotten off to an inauspicious start despite being 1-1. The Cardinals, considered by many to be one of the worst rosters in the NFL this season, had a 20-0 lead going into the half. The Giants hadn’t scored a single point in six quarters dating to their Week 1 40-0 blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Facing these upcoming opponents are tough tasks even prior to Barkley’s injury. So, effective play-calling and players stepping up will be crucial to make sure the team’s record doesn’t get out of hand.
Barkley made headlines this offseason as one of the top running backs in the NFL not finding common ground with their team on a long-term extension with the position’s market taking a big dip.
One of those reasons was the shelf life for running backs as they are more likely to get injured compared to other positions in the league.
Barkley has dealt with injuries throughout his rookie contract, including a torn ACL in 2020 that he suffered against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. It took Barkley some time to find his form again, and an ankle sprain stymied his progress in 2021. He battled through pain all season long, and his production was hurt because of it.
That said, there is a silver lining that stems from the “ordinary” comment of the ESPN report. High-ankle sprains are much harder from which to return compared to a regular sprain.
Barkley can attest to that after dealing with a high-ankle sprain during that 2021 campaign. Perhaps Barkley won’t be dealing with lingering effects from his sprain when he does eventually return this year.
If the three-week timeline is fulfilled, Barkley would return for another tough game on the schedule as the Giants head to Buffalo to face the Bills in Week 6 on “Sunday Night Football.”
In two games this season, Barkley has totaled 114 rushing yards on 29 carries and 41 yards on nine receptions.