The most uplifting day in the past several years for the Giants came with a downer of a cost.

Saquon Barkley, the centerpiece of their offense, will miss the next month – possibly two – with what the team called a high ankle sprain suffered in Sunday’s 32-31 win over the Bucs. Barkley incurred the injury late in the first half of the game in Tampa and on Monday an MRI showed the extent of the injury.

While Giants Coach Pat Shurmur did not provide any timeline for Barkley’s return, such injuries typically take four to eight weeks to heal. Given how much Barkley means to the future of the franchise, it’s likely the Giants will lean toward a cautious approach in the rehab and recovery rather than rush him back quickly.

The Giants faced a somewhat similar situation two years ago when Odell Beckham Jr. – then the main conduit for the offense – suffered a high ankle sprain in the preseason. He came back ahead of schedule only to suffer a more serious season-ending injury on the same weakened ankle after three-plus games.

Barkley undoubtedly will want a speedy return.

“I hate watching my teammates play without me,” he said on Sunday after he spent the second half on the sideline in a walking boot and on crutches.

“I’m going to try to return as quickly as possible.”

From the Giants’ thinking, though, having him back at full strength – for whatever remains of this season and future seasons as well – is much more important than simply having him back.

If Barkley is sidelined eight weeks he would miss the next seven games; the Giants have a bye in Week 11.

That would put him in line for a return on Nov. 24 against the Bears.

By then, the Giants either will be contending for a playoff spot and get a boost from Barkley’s return, or they will have already faded in the standings and be playing out the schedule with an eye toward next season.

PANTHERS: Kyle Allen will make his second straight start Sunday when the Panthers visit the Houston Texans.

Carolina Coach Ron Rivera wasted no time Monday ruling out quarterback Cam Newton for a second straight game due to a lingering mid-foot sprain. Rivera said there is “no timetable” for Newton’s return and that the 2015 league MVP will continue to receive treatment.

Newton originally hurt his foot in Carolina’s third preseason game and then aggravated the injury in a Week 2 loss to the Buccaneers. He has not practiced since.

Rivera gave no indication Newton would need surgery, instead saying that what the QB needs the most right now is rest.

Allen threw four touchdown passes in Carolina’s 38-20 win over the Cardinals on Sunday, improving to 2-0 as an NFL starter. He was 19 of 26 passing for 261 yards and finished with a 144.4 QB rating, the second-best mark in franchise history.

He completed passes to seven different players, including two TD passes to tight end Greg Olsen and one each to wide receivers Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore.

CARDINALS: Arizona released veteran receiver Michael Crabtree after he played just two games.

The 11-year veteran was signed by the Cardinals on Aug. 21. He didn’t play in the first game of the season while learning the offense and then caught four passes for 22 yards over the next two weeks against Baltimore and Carolina.

FALCONS: Keanu Neal will miss the remainder of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, taking the strong safety away from Atlanta’s defense for the second straight season. Neal suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2018 opening game.

ANTONIO BROWN is going back to school.

Central Michigan University spokeswoman Heather Smith said Monday that Brown began taking online courses last week, adding he is not attending classes on campus.

Brown played for the Chippewas from 2007 to 2009 before Pittsburgh drafted him in 2010.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed practice because of an apparent illness, potentially adding another twist to his trade request.

Coach Doug Marrone said Ramsey notified the team trainer Sunday night, three days after a 20-7 victory over Tennessee in the rain and one week after the disgruntled defender called his agent and said “my time is up here in Jacksonville.”

COLTS: Coach Frank Reich said safety Malik Hooker suffered a knee injury during Sunday’s 27-24 victory over Atlanta.

BILLS: Buffalo backup defensive tackle Harrison Phillips will miss the remainder of the season after tearing a knee ligament.

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