The New York Giants pulled off a miraculous victory over the Arizona Cardinals, but the path to victory came at a price.
During the team’s victory that resulted in a Graham Gano field goal for the 31-28 victory, star running back Saquon Barkley suffered an ankle injury that left him limping to the sideline.
After undergoing an MRI, the Giants learned that Barkley suffered a “run-of-the-mill” ankle sprain that would keep him sidelined for three weeks, according to ESPN.
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The Giants’ next three games are against the San Francisco 49ers, which will take place this week on “Thursday Night Football”, the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins. All three opponents are playoff hopefuls in 2023, making Barkley’s loss even more painful for Big Blue.
There’s no doubt 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 every week. Barkley scored twice, once on the ground and once on a reception, during the Giants’ second-half comeback Sunday.
New York, however, got off to an inauspicious start despite going 1-1. The Cardinals, considered by many to be one of the worst lineups in the NFL this season, had a 20-0 lead going into halftime. The Giants hadn’t scored a single point in six quarters since losing 40-0 to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.
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Facing these upcoming opponents is a difficult task, even before Barkley’s injury. So, effective play calling and player build-up will be crucial to ensure the team’s record doesn’t spiral out of control.
Barkley made headlines this offseason as one of the NFL’s best running backs failing to find common ground with his team on a long-term extension as the market for the position saw a steep decline.
One of those reasons was the longevity of running backs, as they are more susceptible to injury than other positions in the league.
Barkley 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 a while to return to form, and a sprained ankle hampered his progress in 2021. He suffered throughout the season, and his production suffered as a result.
That said, there is a silver lining that comes from the “ordinary” commentary in the ESPN report. High ankle sprains are much harder to come back from than a regular sprain.
Barkley can attest to that after suffering a sprained ankle during this 2021 campaign. Perhaps Barkley won’t be dealing with the lingering effects of his sprain when he returns this year.
If the three-week deadline is met, Barkley would return for another tough game on the schedule as the Giants travel to Buffalo to face the Bills in Week 6 of “Sunday Night Football.”
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In two games this season, Barkley has 114 rushing yards on 29 carries and 41 yards on nine receptions.