Moments after the media left the locker room Saturday, the Giants listed Saquon Barkley as doubtful for Monday night’s game against the Seahawks at MetLife Stadium.
“Doubtful” in NFL vernacular is one step up from being ruled out.
That means Barkley almost certainly will not play in the game.
Earlier Saturday, coach Brian Daboll said, as he did last week, that the team will make the decision on Barkley’s availability closer to game time.
“Saquon will practice, do a little bit more,” Daboll said. “We’ll see where he’s at and take it right up to game time.”
The running back duties against Seattle will belong to Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell and rookie Eric Gray.
Breida and Brightwell each carried the ball four times in Barkley’s absence against the 49ers. They totaled 22 yards.
A one-dimensional offense is not optimal for any team.
Barkley has been dealing with an ankle injury, which he said is a high ankle sprain, suffered in Week 2 against the Cardinals. The Giants would not have won that game without Barkley’s contributions. He played all but two snaps in the game.
On Monday, no one player will make up for Barkley’s absence. He has 29 carries for 114 yards and one rushing touchdown in two games. He also has nine receptions for 41 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Arguably, the Giants are in a must-win game on Monday night.
“I feel like every week you need to win,” Barkley said. “I think you can feel where the fans are, where reporters are, where the media’s at. You can feel that. I don’t want to say pressure. I don’t want to say a sense of urgency. But it would definitely be better to start the first quarter of the season 2-2 [rather] than 1-3. So is it a must- win? Every week’s a must-win.”
The Giants’ next two opponents are Miami and Buffalo, both on the road.
If Barkley were making a business decision, the prudent course would be to sit out until the ankle is 100% or close to it.
“I would agree,” Barkley said. “I think that is the smart thing to do business-wise. I think I wouldn’t question anybody telling me I should do that, but at the end of the day, it’s my life. I make those decisions. I love this game, and I feel like if you’re able to play, go out there and play. So I’m trying my best.”
Whenever Barkley talks “business,” his love of the game seems to win out.
But he knows his worth to the Giants. That’s one reason he stayed away from the team throughout the entire offseason, finally signing his $10.1 million franchise tender on the eve of training camp.
Now Barkley wants to be on the field with his teammates but will not be.
The Giants hope Barkley can return next Sunday. He will spend Monday night looking on from the sideline.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s one of those things that I think [my ankle is] way better than what a lot of people would expect, especially talking to doctors. I feel like I’m further along. But it’s frustrating because, obviously, I’m healing fast, but you want it to be faster.
“It’s tough balancing that. But just taking it day by day, coming in and rehabbing and trying to get myself back to a place where I can go out there and compete at a high level for my team.”
The Giants will welcome him back, whenever that time comes. And they’ll hope it’s not too late.