Saquon Barkley suffered what appeared to be a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game, and the New York Giants running back could now miss significant time.
Barkley went down in the second quarter of his team’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, falling awkwardly after a six-yard reception near his team’s sideline. Barkley appeared to be in pain afterward, favoring his ankle as he was helped to the locker room by two members of the team’s medical staff.
While the team had officially listed Barkley as questionable to return, Dr. David Chao believes that the injury could be significant. Chao, a former team doctor for the Los Angeles Chargers who now gives live updates on injuries during the week, said on his website that he believes Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain that could put him in danger of missing significant time.
“He suffered a contusion on the right thigh, but the real injury is to his right ankle,” Chao noted. “By video, it appears to be a right high ankle/deltoid sprain. Hopefully he can return like Patrick Mahomes did week 1. However, high ankle sprains are hard to tape and as a running back, Barkley will have a hard time returning against Tampa Bay.”
Chao said that he would need to get more information before making a deeper assessment, but noted that running backs that suffer a high ankle sprain are often out for significant time. Chao added that he would not be surprised if Barkley were to miss multiple weeks with the injury.
Chao has been accurate in his spot assessments of injuries in the past, correctly predicting last week that Ben Roethlisberger appeared to have suffered a season-ending elbow injury, even correctly diagnosing exactly what he had injured and what surgery it would require. That same day, Chao used video of Drew Brees struggling to hold a football to predict that his thumb injury would keep him out for significant time.
The injury could be a major blow to the Giants, who were losing 18-10 at the time Barkley left the game and looking to avoid starting the season in an 0-3 hole. Barkley had just 10 rushing yards on eight carries at the time he went out, though was more effective in the passing game as he added 27 yards on four catches.
The Giants will have a thin backfield if Barkley were to miss significant time. Backup Wayne Gallman had just two attempts through the first two weeks of the season, both coming in a 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. He did not get a carry in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Through three quarters of Sunday’s game, the Giants preferred to give the ball to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on jet sweeps, and have taken a pass-heavy attack rather than feeding the ball to Barkley as they do when he is healthy.
The New York Giants have already undergone a shakeup on offense this year, benching Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones.