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Giants’ Saquon Barkley expected to play against Tom Brady, Buccaneers on ‘Monday Night Football,’ per report

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Saquon Barkley might finally be past his latest injury. The 24-year-old suffered a severe ankle sprain in Week 5 after taking only two handoffs against the Dallas Cowboys, on a play that saw him roll his ankle on the leg of cornerback Jourdan Lewis. He was immediately helped off of the field before seeing his ankle balloon massively with swelling and being ruled out shortly thereafter, having not taken the field for the Giants since. He’s reportedly expected to suit up on Monday night though, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN, when the Giants visit Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to close out the Week 11 slate of games.

The return of Barkley has taken longer than originally anticipated, and wasn’t helped by a false COVID-19 positive ahead of the Giants bye week. 

Counting the contest against the Cowboys, the Giants are 2-3 since Barkley went down with the ankle injury, and sit at 3-6 in the basement of the NFC East. Defeating the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium would provide them a surge of belief in themselves, and it’s not like Brady and Co. are invulnerable — having dropped two in a row that includes losing to a New Orleans Saints team led by Trevor Siemian, and the Washington Football Team.

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That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, however, and particularly against an angered Brady.

The return of Barkley will be key to the Giants’ chances of landing a potential upset, but also for his future with the club. It’s no secret owner John Mara wants to keep his former second-overall pick in tow for the long-term, but it’s equally no secret that Mara is in no rush to negotiate a contract without having a better grasp on the durability of Barkley going forward. For while his talent is undeniable, the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year played in just two games last season before suffering a torn ACL and has now missed four starts and roughly the last 19+ quarters of football heading into Week 12 of the 2021 season.

He was eased back into the fold this year following last year’s injury and, as such, hasn’t yet regained full form — when weighing his recent production against explosive outings prior to 2020 — but the Giants are hoping that changes as early as Monday evening.

“I still believe I’m capable of the things that I’ve shown on the field before — so when I’m able to make those plays, when those plays come to me, make those plays and don’t force anything and take it one day at a time,” Barkley said. “That’s really the only thing I can do. Those are my expectations. Take it one day at a time, be a leader that I am, and be the playmaker that I know I can be and know that I will be.”

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