Barkley was among the team's inactives after being listed as doubtful. He was limited in practice throughout the week.
Matt Breida started in Barkley's place. The Giants and Barkley held out hope that perhaps he could make significant gains in the final days and hours leading up to the game. But it still never seemed realistic that he'd make it back this week.
Barkley missed last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The original timetable for his ankle injury was that he could miss three games.
"It's tough," Barkley said Friday. "It's one of those things I think I'm doing way better than a lot of people would expect, especially talking to doctors, I feel like I'm further along. But it's frustrating because I'm obviously healing fast, but you want it to be faster. ... Taking it day by day, just fighting every single day coming into rehab and trying to get myself back to a place where I can come in and compete at a high level for my team."
Barkley, who did not miss a game due to injury last season, was trying to beat the original timeline. He expressed a desire to return this week, but also realized he has to listen to his body.
The Pro Bowl running back is a free agent after the season. He understands there are some who would err on the patient side when it comes to getting back on the field, because of the contract situation. But Barkley, who signed a revised franchise tag the first day of training camp, doesn't view it that way.
"The reality of it is that, if I can go, if my body is telling me to go out there and play, then, yeah, that is what I'd like to do," Barkley said. "Anyone else that is in this situation, or say if some people were in this situation where they don't have a contract behind them or for business reasons, I respect that, too. Probably is a smart thing to do, to be honest.
"But that is not really in my makeup and how I view it. I don't judge nobody if they do that, but for me, if my body is able to go, that's when I'll go."