49ers won't have to face this injured Giants Pro Bowler on Thursday night

No Saquon Barkley means the 49ers should face off against an old friend.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

2-0. 42. 49ers -10. Thursday, Sept. 21. 49ers-Giants opening. 8:20 p.m. ET. 1-1. 31. Amazon Prime

The Giants will be without star running back Saquon Barkley for the next three weeks or so, meaning the 49ers won't have to face him on Thursday.

While the New York Giants were busy completing their epic Week 2 comeback on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley endured the scare of scares that suggested he had just experienced a devastating ankle injury.

From the initial looks of it, it seemed as if it would potentially be a season-ending setback.

But further tests and a subsequent MRI on Monday revealed the star tailback only suffered an ankle sprain, and both Barkley and the G-Men have to be thrilled that the expected time he'll miss is just three weeks.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was on the report:

Big Blue should easily be breathing a collective sigh of relief.

However, the news impacts the San Francisco 49ers in a significant way, as head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad will host New York for Thursday Night Football this week at Levi's Stadium.

Barkley will be out, meaning the 2-0 Niners will have to contend against his backup and the rest of the Giants offense instead.

Saquon Barkley injury means 49ers likely to face old friend, Matt Breida

On ESPN's depth chart for the G-Men, the primary support rusher behind Barkley is Matt Breida, the same tailback whom San Francisco grabbed as an undrafted free agent back in 2017.

Breida spent his first three years in the league with the 49ers and even led them in rushing in 2018 with 814 yards, but he ultimately fell out of favor the following season and was off the team entirely by the time 2020 rolled around.

A journeyman back now, Breida has just three carries for 14 yards so far this season.

He'll likely see quite the uptick against his former squad on Thursday, though, and the Niners are allowing a middle-of-the-pack 4.1 rush yards against through two games so far.

Breida averaged more than 5 yards per carry in two of his three season with San Francisco but hasn't since departing.

The 49ers and Giants kick off on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 8:20 p.m. ET.

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