UNLV junior linebacker Starr Fuimaono will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
It’s a tough loss for the Rebels, who play at No. 15 Arizona State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"Any time a player of that magnitude is lost, it’s a big thing," coach Mike Sanford said Tuesday. "Not only is he a good football player, but he’s a leader."
Fuimaono, who was hurt in the second quarter of Saturday’s 42-21 loss at Utah, is expected to undergo surgery within 10 days to repair the ACL.
"It came to me as a shock at first, but I’m working on it," Fuimaono said. "That’s the hard part, being injured last year and then getting injured so fast this year."
Fuimaono led UNLV with 14 tackles in a season-opening 27-17 victory over Utah State on Aug. 30. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Wyoming in the ninth game of last season.
"The good news about it is we have better people than we’ve had in the past to move into that role," Sanford said.
Jason Beauchamp moves from the weak side to the strong side to take Fuimaono’s starting spot.
"I was actually playing that position at one point, but Starr was set to play there," Beauchamp said. "So I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a transition."
Also, Western High School graduate Ronnie Paulo will start in the middle after missing most of Saturday’s loss at Utah with a bruised leg. He will be backed up by Jimmy Miller, who played in nine games last year and will see more playing time as the season progresses after missing training camp because of academics.
Nate Carter, a Las Vegas High graduate, is the starter on the weak side.
Because Fuimaono’s injury occurred early in the season, he can redshirt and will have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Sanford said Fuimaono’s rehabilitation should take about nine months.
• NOTES — The UNLV-Arizona State game will be aired on local cable television. Fox College Sports Pacific, Channel 332 on Cox digital cable, will broadcast the nonconference matchup. …
The Sun Devils have their share of injury problems, too. Running back Keegan Herring, the school’s 10th-career leading rusher, might not play because of a hamstring injury. ASU linebacker Gerald Munns is out with a broken pinkie. He was the Pacific-10 Conference defensive player of the week after intercepting a pass and causing another interception with a deflection in Saturday’s 41-17 victory over Stanford.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914.