Falcons starting right guard Brandon Fusco suffered a broken ankle and will be out for the rest of the season, coach Dan Quinn said on Tuesday.
“Fusco, he had a tough injury with his ankle which will force him to miss the rest of the season,” Quinn said the day after the Falcons defeated the New York Giants 23-20 to improve to 3-4.
Fusco was injured late in the second quarter. He did not put weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field. He was driven off the field on a cart to the locker room and did not return to the game.
Ben Garland took over for Fusco to start the second half and played 39 of 65 offensive snaps. The Falcons already have lost a starting guard, Andy Levitre, to a season-ending arm injury.
“You really felt his speed to try to get to the second level,” Quinn said of Garland. “He did a good job in protection as well. We keep track of finish plays and finished blocks ... (he had) six or seven of those from a finishing standpoint which is good.”
The Falcons signed Fusco to a three-year, $12.75 million contract in March on the opening day of the NFL’s new business year.
Fusco, 30, has started 87 of 90 games he’s played for the Vikings, 49ers and Falcons. He started all 16 games at right guard for the 49ers in 2017. He started all seven games for the Falcons and played all 410 snaps this season heading into Monday’s game.
Fusco, who played at Slippery Rock, was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2011 draft.
Fusco, who’s 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds, gave the Falcons a veteran presence.
Fusco was a salary cap casualty with the Vikings after the 2016 season. He did not return to form that season in a move back to the right side after a disappointing year at left guard in 2015.
He had three years left on a five-year extension with none of his remaining salary guaranteed when released. He signed on with the 49ers for 2017.
He’d earned an extension after the final year of his rookie deal, but wasn’t able to regain his form after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.
Fusco missed two games in 2016 after suffering a concussion.
Fusco beat out Wes Schweitzer, who had an uneven first season as a starter in 2017, for the starting spot with the Falcons. Schweitzer has taken over for Levitre at left guard.
Fusco’s injury is just the latest in a string of season-ending injuries for the Falcons.
Levitre (biceps injury), strong safety Keanu Neal (knee) and free safety Ricardo Allen (torn Achilles) were lost for the season.
Middle linebacker Deion Jones (broken foot) and running back Devonta Freeman (core/sports hernia/groin) are also on injured reserve, but should return this season.
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