Saquon Barkley’s Ankle Injury Casts Doubt on Giants’ Upcoming Games

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The New York Giants’ running back, Saquon Barkley, has suffered an ankle injury in the most recent game against the Arizona Cardinals, leaving his participation in pending games with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks doubtful. It was a bittersweet moment as the Giants managed to overcome a 21-point deficit, securing their victory over the Cardinals with a last-minute score of 31-28. Unfortunately, the celebration was tempered by Barkley’s fourth-quarter injury.

Barkley, witnessed limping into the locker room, was helped off of the field at the State Farm Stadium after getting his ankle twisted in the game’s antepenultimate play. Initial X-rays did not indicate any major injury. However, to determine the severity of his ailment, Barkley underwent an MRI the following Monday in Arizona. Despite claims by Giants that it’s a case of a mild ankle sprain, video footage indicates a potentially more severe high-ankle injury.

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Barkley played an instrumental role in his team’s win against the Cardinals, rushing 17 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. He also contributed six receptions summing up to 29 yards and delivered an additional touchdown. Overall, in the two games he’s played this season, Barkley’s efforts have combined a total of 145 yards, securing two touchdowns.

His contribution stems from a successful previous season where he accomplished a career-best run of 1,312 yards in 16 games, scoring ten touchdowns. Giants and Barkley’s contract extension remained in flux during the offseason leading to Barkley being hit with a nonexclusive franchise tag. While it seemed that he might hold out of training camp due to the contract dispute, he signed a tender offer a day before the camp, thus successfully avoiding a holdout.

However, injury has been a constant companion to Barkley. He has twice, in 2019 and 2021, endured high-ankle sprains. Though he rebounded valiantly in 2019, 2021 saw him struggle amidst recurring injuries. The Giants found themselves grappling with losses following Barkley’s less than effectual return post his recovery phase.

Within the team, the onus now falls on veteran Matt Breida to step up. Having backed Barkley since last season and having played for four teams in his seven-season career, Breida has obtained 2,515 yards and eight touchdowns dashing 523 times. He also has 104 receptions contributing to 844 yards and six touchdowns under his belt.

Joining Breida are running backs Gary Brightwell and rookie Eric Gray, hoping to make their presence felt with the Giants. Brightwell, a sixth-round pick hailing from Arizona and Gray, yet to make his debut after being selected from Oklahoma in the fifth round of the recent NFL Draft are the new additions to the team.

In the extended future, the Giants will face the San Francisco 49ers, who currently hold an unbeaten record of 2-0, shortly followed by a matchup with the also undefeated Seattle Seahawks and Miami Dolphins. With Barkley’s return in question, the Giants are perceived underdogs against the 49ers but hope for a probable return in Week 4.

It’s anticipated that the Giants will either advance to the playoffs – currently at +370 odds according to DraftKings or miss them at -500 odds. In the end, the Giants’ fans hold on to the slim hope of Barkley’s recovery – if not by Week 5 then hopefully, in their critical clash with the Buffalo Bills in Week 6.