New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is expected to miss three weeks with an “ordinary” ankle sprain after going down late in their win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
An MRI showed that Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley suffered an “ordinary” ankle sprain that now is expected to sideline him three weeks, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 18, 2023
If he does miss three weeks, Barkley will return for their game against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 15. The Giants are set to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, followed by the Seahawks in Week 4 and the Dolphins in Week 5.
Barkley rolled his ankle awkwardly on the Giants' final drive Sunday. He was helped off the field and was seen limping significantly with just more than a minute left.
Saquon Barkley was slow to get up and had to be helped off of the field after his latest carry. pic.twitter.com/6Td11ApcTH
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 17, 2023
An MRI on Monday then confirmed the sprain.
Barkley is going to be officially considered "week to week" while he recovers. Giants head coach Brian Daboll declined to officially rule Barkley out when speaking with reporters on Tuesday, and said they would take the decision up until gametime on Thursday night.
"I'm not saying that he's out yet," Daboll said, via ESPN's Jordan Raanan. "He's a quick healer. I'm not saying he's in, he's out. We're going to take it all the way up with him to Thursday. But he feels a lot better [on Tuesday]."
The Giants, after their blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys to start the season, trailed the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime Sunday — which made them the first team to be outscored 60-0 to start a season since the 1978 Baltimore Colts. Yet the Giants rallied and scored 24 straight points to end the game and mounted their largest comeback since 1950 to take the 31-28 win.
Barkley had 63 rushing yards on 17 carries and scored twice, once on the ground and another through the air. He finished with 24.2 fantasy points, making him one of the top-performing running backs of the week. The 26-year-old had 51 rushing yards on 12 carries against the Cowboys in Week 1.
Barkley had a career-high 1,312 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns last season with the Giants, his fifth in the league after they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2018. He signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the club this summer following a brief hold out after the team tried to use the franchise tag on him.
In Barkley's absence, the Giants will now presumably lean on running back Matt Breida, who has just three carries this season but is listed at No. 2 on the depth chart. Breida is in his second season with the GIants, and had 220 rushing yards and a touchdown backing up Barkley last season. Breida is a viable fantasy football pickup with Barkley sidelined. The team also has Gary Brightwell and rookie Eric Gray on their roster. Quarterback Daniel Jones had 59 rushing yards — just four shy of Barkley — and a rushing touchdown against the Cardinals on Sunday. He had 43 rushing yards on 13 carries in Week 1, too.
Though his absence will undoubtedly hurt the Giants moving forward, the "ordinary" designation is at least a good sign. The injury could have been much worse, and taken the Giants' already rough start to the season to a new low.