TAMPA, Fla. — Saquon Barkley suffered a sprained right ankle in the second quarter of the Giants’ 32-31 win over the Bucs, but at least it wasn’t worse.
“I’m not out for the season,” said Barkley, who was injured after being tackled after a short gain near the Giants’ sideline. “I’m going to do whatever I can to get back as quickly as possible. Not for myself, but for my team. That’s what I continue to think about.”
Barkley returned from the locker room to spend the second half in the bench area, wearing a walking boot and hobbling around on crutches while cheering for his teammates.
He also grew frustrated by not being able to help.
“I caught myself getting a little upset on the sideline, just because I wasn’t able to be out there with those guys,” he said.
Barkley could miss several weeks because of the injury. Despite his absence, the Giants rallied behind rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who led the team to victory after trailing 28-10 at halftime.
Barkley did whatever he could on the sideline to encourage his teammates — and even the team’s fans. “Even though I’m not active in the game, I’m still trying to rally the sideline, get the fans into it, that’s what it’s about,” he said. “It’s not about you. It’s about the team.”
Barkley rushed only eight times for 10 yards as the Bucs went into the game with the idea of shutting him down and making Jones beat them. The rookie passed his test with flying colors.
“Even though I know I’m not playing, I know I can impact the team with my voice,” Barkley said. “That’s why I wanted to get back out there. I wanted to tell my team how happy I am, how proud I am that they worked their tails off and come out with a whole new mentality in the second half, built on that.”
Barkley said the last time he got hurt was as a freshman at Penn State.
“I don’t know much about it,” he said of Sunday’s injury. “Whatever it is, I promise to come back 10 times better and do what I can to help my team compete. That’s the only thing I’m focused on, trying to do whatever I can to take that same mindset I have and try to compete at a high level in the weight room, on the football field, with this rehab, to get back on the field.”
Wayne Gallman took over but the Giants mostly relied on Jones’ arm. Gallman had only five carries for 13 yards. Jones passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two touchdowns.
Barkley was thrilled to see Jones get the win.
“The quarterback is a big change,” he said. “But just a new chapter. We finally see what we have. The first two weeks, we felt like we were in games, but we weren’t playing to our level. I was excited for Daniel to come out here and I said we would do whatever it takes to try to get this team the first win, and those guys did that today.”