EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley limped off the field midway through the third quarter of the Giants' 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He tweaked his ankle after a 9-yard run midway through the third quarter.
Barkley went across the field, from running out of bounds on the Cardinals' sideline all the way to the Giants bench, to get his right ankle attended to again. It was the same leg that had been hit with a high ankle sprain and forced him to miss the past three games.
The Pro Bowl running back appeared to be in pain, had the ankle retaped and went back in the game two plays later.
"Someone just landed on it," Barkley said. "That's kind of part of the healing process with this thing. I just went out real quick, got it taped up and came back and played."
Barkley insisted afterward he was fine. He said there was no way he was going to keep himself on the sideline after he felt something in that ankle.
That's the competitor in him, even if he might feel it in the morning or have to deal with it in the coming weeks.
"I want to be out there for my teammates," Barkley said of the possibility of not returning after that third-down run. "I was able to go, so why not?"
It paid dividends. He later scored on a run up the middle in the fourth quarter, powering through a Cardinals defender to reach the end zone.
Overall, it wasn't a vintage Barkley game. He finished with 18 carries for 72 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and a touchdown. He caught 3 passes on 5 targets for 8 yards with a drop.
"I felt like I was running well," Barkley said. "I think I did a little too much on some stuff, but that's part of my game. Sometimes it doesn't work. Most of the time it works, so just have to go watch film and see what I could do better to help my team win."
Barkley's longest run went for 20 yards, but he did have a 32-yard scamper negated by a penalty. He also flashed signs he was back to his normal self with some of the spins and cuts he put on display in the first half.
"I thought he looked good," coach Pat Shurmur said. "He was out there competing throughout the game. He did a nice job."
Shurmur said he didn't know anything specifically about the tweak.
"He came off the field, and then he went back on," Shurmur said. "I don't have many details on what happened there."
Barkley jogged with a limp off the field. Still, there weren't any concerns about putting him back into the game.
"No. He was ready to go," Shurmur said.
It's something the Giants (2-5) might have to monitor closely moving forward. They don't want this injury lingering into the second half of the season or, dare we say, longer.
Barkley said he "felt fine" throughout the contest, and it was apparent with the way he ran and cut. When asked if he thought he was back to his preinjury self, he turned and answered with an emphatic, "Yeah!"
Barkley was on the field for 57 of 65 offensive snaps. He had five carries for 26 yards and a touchdown after limping off the field. He was optimistic about being able to handle his normal workload.
He also remains optimistic about the team's prospects for the remainder of the season despite three straight losses and just two wins after seven games.
"I think we just have to go back to the drawing board. I know I sound like a broken record, but that's what it is," Barkley said. "I know you guys are going to say what you guys want to say about us being 2-5, but our season is not over. We still have a positive mindset in this locker room. We always will no matter what. We just have to get ready for the next game."
It's next Sunday in Detroit when his ankle will get seriously tested again.