The New York Giants are likely to be without star running back for the reminder of the season. Especially if the reports about his injury are correct. A torn ACL wold require surgery and extensive rehab.
Head coach Joe Judge would not speak to the extent of the injury after the Giants 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
“I don’t have a diagnosis on his knee,” Judge told reporters. “He’s going to see some doctors tomorrow. We’ll wait and see what that is. Obviously we’re all praying for the best. I would just say this, regardless of whatever the outcome is going to be and what the doctors say tomorrow.Â I wouldn’t fall asleep on 26, it’s going to be a hell of a story either way.”
The Giants have just three healthy running backs on the active roster: Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and fullback Eli Penny. They also have Rod Smith on the practice squad, but they will be in the market for running back depth come Monday when they get the diagnosis on Barkley’s knee.
Until then, the Giants will have to go with that trio. Gallman was not active on Sunday (a healthy scratch) but those days are over now. Lewis got the call after Barkley went down, gaining just 20 yards on ten carries but did score the Giants’ only touchdown on the afternoon. He also caught four passes for 36 yards. Lewis was asked if he was prepared for the heavy workload on Sunday.
“Gotta stay ready,” he said. “I prepare every week, all week, like Iâ€™m going to be in there every play because you never know whatâ€™s going to happen. So, I always stay prepared and, unfortunately, I had to go out there a little more than I normally would have to, but I was ready.”
Asked if he spoke to Barkley, Lewis said that he did.
“Yeah, I spoke with him,” said Lewis. “I just told him to keep his head up, stay positive, believe in God. Nobody knows whatâ€™s really going on right now, so just try to keep his head up. Heâ€™s a great kid, and weâ€™ve grown extremely close since Iâ€™ve been here, so you know, definitely feel for him.”
Looking towards the future, Lewis forecasted what the running backs plan on handling the loss of Barkley.
“Itâ€™s going to take all of us. We got Wayne, myself, we all gotta step up. Obviously, you know, Saquon is one of the best running backs in this league, so nobodyâ€™s going to be able to do what he does, what heâ€™s done. We gotta do what we can do, be ourselves, and do whatever the coaches ask us to do and work hard every day.
I mean, heâ€™s Saquon Barkley, so you lose a guy like that, itâ€™s a huge loss. But you know, as a team, everybodyâ€™s gotta step up. Receivers gotta step up, O-lineâ€™s gotta step up, running backs have gotta step up, quarterbackâ€™s gotta step up, defense has gotta step up, everybody has gotta step up. Itâ€™s not going to be one person who steps up to make up for what heâ€™s done, itâ€™s going to take all of us.”
That may not be enough. The Giants may have to explore a trade if they can’t find any options on the waiver wire.