Falcons praise OL for playing with broken foot

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons rookie right guard Chris Lindstrom received high praise from his teammates for playing nine offensive snaps with a broken right foot during Sunday's 28-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Lindstrom, the first-round draft pick from Boston College, suffered the injury with 10 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third quarter when he got tangled up with Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter after a run by Devonta Freeman to the right. Hunter pushed Lindstrom after Freeman was down, and Lindstrom planted awkwardly on the outside of his foot, resulting in the break.

While noticeably hobbled, Lindstrom remained stout in pass protection and even got out in space to run block. On one play after the injury, Lindstrom blocked linebacker Anthony Barr to the ground. Then on another, he stood up the rush of defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson.

Lindstrom did surrender one pressure to defensive tackle Hercules Mata'afa before exiting. Wes Schweitzer replaced him as the Falcons reached a goal-line situation at around the four-minute mark. Lindstrom told folks he had planned to finish the game before the pain became too intense.

The team obviously didn't know it was broken or Lindstrom would have been pulled. The fracture was not confirmed until after testing on Monday.

"That's pretty impressive," quarterback Matt Ryan said of Lindstrom playing with the broken foot. "Chris is one tough dude.''

Said left tackle Jake Matthews, "He told us he played on it after the game. He's a tough dude, so I'm not surprised he did that. It shows the character he has and how much he cares about the team and how well he wants to do. Obviously, it sucks he's going to be out for a little bit.''

The Falcons placed Lindstrom on injured reserve Monday and moved veteran Jamon Brown from left guard to right guard to replace him in the starting lineup in preparation for Sunday night's home opener against Philadelphia. Lindstrom, who underwent surgery Wednesday, is expected to be in a walking boot for eight weeks. Coach Dan Quinn said Lindstrom was "doing well" following the procedure.

Lindstrom would be eligible to return to game action for the Week 10 contest at New Orleans provided everything heals correctly.

"He's tough, and I don't know what else you can say about the man,'' said fellow rookie first-rounder Kaleb McGary, the starting right tackle. "That's a hell of thing to play nine snaps on a busted foot. I wouldn't want to. And I don't imagine Chris really wanted to. But Chris is just so tough. He's a hell of player. We're lucky to have him, that's for damn sure.''

Lindstrom playing on the broken foot didn't go unnoticed by his defensive teammates.

"That means a lot because you can tell he's a fighter,'' free safety and captain Ricardo Allen said. "Other people put in that situation, a lot of them would have pulled themselves out. For him to keep going, it shows you the man that he is. He's a true football player, a true baller. He's trying to get it.

"I've been watching him since he got here, so he's been a good dude anyway. I didn't even know he broke his foot until my wife told me yesterday. He's going to be a good, good player for a long time.''

Lindstrom played 45 snaps total in his NFL debut.