New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley reportedly is expected to miss the next three weeks.
Barkley suffered a right ankle sprain late in the fourth quarter of the Giants' 31-28 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. An MRI on Monday confirmed that Barkley sustained an "ordinary" ankle sprain as opposed to the dreaded high-ankle sprain. The injury will sideline him for the next few weeks, beginning with the Giants' matchup against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday.
Barkley suffered the injury when his ankle twisted awkwardly while being tackled with just over one minute remaining in the game. He was slow to get to his feet and unable to put weight on his ankle as he was helped off the field.
Barkley reached the sideline and slammed his helmet down in frustration.
The X-rays taken at State Farm Stadium in Arizona were negative, leading to Giants coach Brian Daboll telling reporters Monday morning that he was "hopeful" Barkley avoided a severe injury.
Barkley had 17 carries for 63 rushing yards and a touchdown and six receptions for 29 receiving yards and a touchdown before exiting on Sunday. His nine-yard touchdown catch, in which he dove past a defender to reach the pylon, made it a one-possession game after the Giants trailed by as many as 21 points.
“It’s always tough to see anyone go down, especially Saquon," Giants quarterback Daniel Jones told reporters after Sunday's game. "He's a huge piece of what we're doing. He's an important player on the team. So, I know he'll work hard to get back, get through whatever he's going through. Look forward to having him back as soon as possible."
Barkley last season ran for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns and added 338 receiving yards on 57 catches, accounting for 27.7% of the Giants' scrimmage yards.
The 26-year-old running back agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $11 million in July, ending a lengthy contract dispute after the Giants placed the franchise tag on Barkley, which would have paid him $10.091 million for the 2023 season.
The two sides failed to reach an extension prior to the July deadline, after which Barkley said he'd consider sitting out the 2023 season. He soon agreed to the one-year deal rather than hold out, with the two sides unable to negotiate a long-term deal again until after the season.
Barkley's injury history factored into negotiations. In addition to missing 14 games in 2020 with a torn ACL, Barkley missed three games in 2019 with a right ankle sprain and four games in 2021 with a high left ankle sprain.
Veteran running back Matt Breida, who has started 20 games in his seven-year career, is expected to replace Barkley as the Giants' lead back.
How many games Barkley misses this season could impact the reported $1 million of incentives he receives with an equal amount paid for 1,300 rushing yards, 11 touchdowns and 65 receptions.
Barkley did not speak with reporters after Sunday's game but did post on social media.
"Love this team!" Barkley wrote on X. "Way to fight!!!"