Giants running back Saquon Barkley hasn’t suited up since injuring his ankle in the Week 2 win over the Cardinals. The nagging high ankle sprain, which isn’t the first of his career, has made him questionable for Sunday’s matchup against the Dolphins. Which is an upgrade from his “out” and “doubtful” designations the last two weeks.
But the Giants shouldn’t even entertain the idea of activating him — and they reportedly are not.
On Sunday, it will be just 21 days since Barkley went down. Some may say this isn’t enough time to return to 100% after such a tricky injury. The sixth-year back played 28 days after suffering a high ankle sprain in 2019. He then played 43 days after suffering the same injury two years later (although we’ll round that down to around 35 given there was a bye week somewhere in there).
Now he’s older, and rehabbing isn’t as simple (not like it really ever is). So there’s that aspect to it.
But you also need to consider the state of the offensive line. Barkley playing just 21 days after the setback would be risky. Doing so behind what’s expected to be a make-shift offensive line? Oh boy.
The unit has already struggled mightily amid the absence of star left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring). Now there have been even more offensive line trips to the trainer’s room. While Thomas is set to miss a fourth straight game, center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) and guard Shane Lemieux (groin) are also out. So the line could feature — from left to right — Josh Ezeudu, Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson, Marcus McKethan, and Evan Neal. Not ideal.
The Giants could be looking to attack the Bills’ mediocre run defense in their matchup the following week, also in order to keep that high-powered Buffalo offense off the field. Better to give Barkley another week of rest for that daunting matchup.