Leftwich undergoes surgery on ankle, expected to be out 3-4 weeks

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons quarterback Byron Leftwich underwent surgery on his right ankle on Wednesday and will be out three to four weeks.

In his first game as the Falcons starter, Leftwich sustained a high ankle sprain in a 22-16 loss at New Orleans on Sunday.

The surgical procedure will help speed the recovery process, coach Bobby Petrino said.

"He had a procedure done this morning that is a very aggressive procedure," Petrino said after practice. "They actually go in and put a couple screws in there and it helps it heal faster."

Offensive tackle Todd Weiner underwent the same procedure a couple of weeks ago.

"A lot of hockey players are doing it now," Petrino said. "It's supposed to increase the healing and hopefully he'll be back in three to four weeks. He says two, but the doctors say three to four."

The Falcons (1-6) are off this week. Leftwich is likely to miss at least three games but could return for a Thanksgiving night contest against Indianapolis.

"He wanted to get back on the field as quick as he can," Petrino said. "This is a new, aggressive procedure that has worked very well."

In the meantime, Joey Harrington reclaims his job as the No. 1 quarterback. He started Atlanta's first six games and took over against the Saints when Leftwich was hurt on the first series of the second half.

Chris Redman is the only other quarterback on the roster. Petrino said Warrick Dunn would serve as the emergency quarterback while Leftwich recovers.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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