The New York Giants offensive line, still trying to gel as a unit, has suffered a major loss. Center Jon Halapio, who suffered a right leg injury in Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys, is now confirmed to be out for the season. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported the news first, saying that Halapio has a broken ankle:
Giants starting center Jon Halapio broke his ankle and is out for the season, per sources. Bad luck. He had worked so hard to not only stick on a roster but become a starter. Was playing well. His loss another blow towards creating continuity on the Giants offensive line.— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) September 17, 2018
Moments later, the Giants also confirmed the news, adding that Halapio will be undergoing surgery:
Center Jon Halapio suffered fractures to his lower leg and ankle last night in Dallas and is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the injuries.— New York Giants (@Giants) September 17, 2018
Halapio was named the Giants’ starting center after spending all of training camp and the preseason with the first-team offensive line. His status was further cemented when the Giants traded center Brett Jones to the Minnesota Vikings for a 2019 seventh-round draft pick in August.
Though never a starter before — Halapio was initially a 2014 Round 6 draft pick of the New England Patriots and bounced around the league before landing in New York in 2016 — he earned the right thanks to his hard work over the summer, his presence ruling the more expensive Jones obsolete on the Giants’ roster.
Now, the Giants will have to determine his replacement ahead of next Sunday’s meeting with the Houston Texans. The most logical option is veteran John Greco, who stepped in for Halapio on Sunday night. Another is undrafted rookie Evan Brown. And if neither excite, former Los Angeles Chargers starting center Spencer Pulley could be an option. The Giants were awarded Pulley via waivers at the beginning of the season.
Pulley started 16 games for the Chargers last season, while Greco has started 66 games over 11 seasons, at left guard, right guard and center, mostly for the Cleveland Browns. Brown had 47 collegiate starts for Southern Methodist University, at center and right guard.
At the very least, the Giants have options. But it’s not good news that their hand-picked center is lost for the season well before the offensive line — and the offense as a whole — has been able to build an identity together.