Saquon Barkley entered the 2021 season eager to rewrite the story of his injury marred career. Six weeks into his fourth campaign, he's struggling, physically and emotionally, with another ailment.
Barkley is expected to miss the New York Giants' Week 6 game against the Los Angeles Rams after spraining his ankle last Sunday. It will be his 18th missed game due to injury over the past three seasons. That's one number on Barkley's stat line that the running back hates to see increase.
"I’ll be honest, it’s frustrating. It doesn't make sense why it's happening," Barkley told reporters on missing games with an injury for a third straight season, per SNY. "But I can't keep that mindset. You can't get anywhere with it. Everything happens for a reason."
The former No. 2 overall pick missed three weeks in 2019 with an ankle sprain and suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2020 season. The league's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, Barkley has not played a full slate of games since that star-making season.
Memories of his past injuries continue to haunt Barkley and were with him during New York's Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, when the RB went down with his low-ankle sprain.
"I felt like I just started getting my stride back," Barkley said, adding, "I didn't want to get on the cart because the last time I was on the cart, I was out for the season," referring to his torn ACL.
Sidelined again for injury reasons, Barkley said he's choosing to look at his most recent physical ailment as a "blessing in disguise."
Saquon is not alone in the New York training room this week. Receiver Kenny Golladay has not practiced with a knee injury and is not expected to play against the Rams. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who left Sunday's game as well with a concussion, returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis and is on track to play.
The Giants felt like they dodged a bullet when X-rays of Barkley's ankle revealed no significant damage, and the running back's expected to return by New York's Week 7 game against the Carolina Panthers, missing just one week of action.
Barkley, however, is not putting a timetable on his return from his latest setback.
"I don't plan to put any expectations on the day, the game, the comeback," Barkley said. "I'm just going to listen to my body, listen to the trainers, take it day by day."