New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley looks likely to miss the rest of the season with a major injury to his right knee. The Giants said an MRI on Monday confirmed Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee during Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears. The 2018 NFL offensive rookie of the year will undergo surgery in the near future, the team said.
Barkley went down hard on the Chicago sideline after trying to fend off Bears safety Eddie Jackson early in the second quarter. The 23-year-old also seemed to be shaken up after he was tackled at the end of a run late in the opening quarter, but he quickly reentered the game.
Barkley had his best season as a rookie in 2018 after the Giants drafted him hoping he would be a cornerstone of the franchise for years. He carried 261 times for 1,307 yards and caught 91 passes for another 721. He scored 15 touchdowns, including 11 on the ground. An ankle injury in the third game of last season caused him to miss three games. He finished with 1,003 yards rushing and 52 catches. His touchdown production went from 15 to eight, with six on the ground.
Barkley was not the only star running back injured on Sunday. Panthers All-Pro Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss “multiple weeks” with a high right ankle sprain he sustained in Carolina’s 31-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said on a conference call Monday: “I hate it for him. No one wants to be out there more than Christian does. But everything happens for a reason. I’m sure he is rehabbing right now.”
High ankle sprains are generally considered a 4 to 6 week injury, but Rhule said he had no timeline for McCaffrey’s return.
The loss of McCaffrey is a huge blow for the Panthers’ offense. He was the team’s best offensive playmaker in 2019, becoming only the third player in NFL history to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. The Panthers rewarded the fourth-year running back with a four-year, $64m contract making him the highest-paid running back in the league.