NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Lost in the euphoria that accompanied Daniel Jones’ successful first start at quarterback for the Giants was a looming dose of reality.
Big Blue knew it could be, potentially, without its best player for some time.
Those fears appear to be reality as reports surfaced Monday afternoon saying all-everything running back Saquon Barkley will miss the next four to eight weeks with a high-ankle sprain.
MRI revealed Giants’ RB Saquon Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain that could sideline him anywhere from 4-8 weeks, per source. Longer timeline is considered more likely; the Giants have a bye in week 11, which could give him eight weeks to recover and return for last six games.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2019
Barkley, the No. 2 pick in last year’s draft who would go on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, suffered the injury during the first half of Sunday’s rousing 32-31 road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York’s first victory of the season. He was seen on the sideline with a walking boot and crutches after he had his foot bent backwards on a tackle by the Bucs’ Mike Edwards in the second quarter.
Coach Shurmur said Saquon Barkley has a high ankle sprain. “We just have to see" about his timeframe.
— New York Giants (@Giants) September 23, 2019
“Would I say I’m really hurt? No. Could it be way worse? Yes. I’m not out for the season,” Barkley said after Sunday’s game. “Whatever I can do to get back as quickly as possible — not just for myself, for this team — that’s what I’ll continue to think about. That’s the only thing I’m focused on.
“I’ve never really been hurt,” he added. “I guess I got hurt my freshman year in college. Whatever it is, I promise you I’m gonna come [back] 10 times better. I’m gonna try as quickly as possible to help my team compete.”
Barkley got off to a good start this season, rushing for a combined 227 yards and a touchdown in the first two games. Prior to getting injured on Sunday, he had just 10 yards rushing, but added four receptions for 27 yards. Overall, Barkley is averaging 6.4 yards per carry and has 11 receptions this season.
His versatility will be sorely missed as the Giants move forward with Jones, who supplanted Eli Manning as the starting quarterback following the 28-14 loss to visiting Buffalo on Sept. 15.
Veteran Wayne Gallman figures to be the lead back in Barkley’s absence. Gallman, a fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2017, has 682 yards rushing over parts of the last three seasons. After replacing Barkley on Sunday, Gallman had five carries for 13 yards.
“We certainly believe in Wayne Gallman,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said.