LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller had surgery to save his left leg after he tore an artery while dislocating his knee during Sunday’s loss at New Orleans.
The team said the “urgent” operation Sunday to repair a torn popliteal artery was successful. Miller remains at University Medical Center New Orleans, along with team medical personnel.
Coach John Fox said a vein was taken from the right leg to fix his left one. He said the pulse in Miller’s lower leg was good and that he had feeling in his foot.
“Not that he’s out of the woods by any stretch but it’s as good as could be expected at this point,” Fox said.
Asked if Miller remains in danger of losing his leg, Fox said: “I don’t want to go down that path, I’m not a doctor, I don’t know, I’m not right there, but I think they feel good about where he is right now, as it relates to that.”
Fox also wasn’t sure if Miller tore any ligaments.
“All that stuff, they haven’t dealt with it to be quite honest with you so I really haven’t visited too much with our medical people as far as the extent of the actual knee injury,” Fox said. “Getting this addressed was far more important.”
Miller dislocated his knee when he landed in the end zone attempting to catch a 25-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky. The injury, which was replayed several times on the scoreboard, forced the 33-year-old tight end to be carted off and taken to the hospital.
After a replay review, officials ruled the ball hit the ground when Miller bobbled it on his way down.
“I was talking to Kristen — his wife — and he basically snagged the phone from her,” Fox said. “I was actually shocked to hear his voice because … I wasn’t there during the surgery, didn’t know the recovery process.
“But typical Zach, he was arguing about catch, no catch. But very supportive of the team. Very unselfish. That’s just him, and it’s genuine. It’s real, and I just kind of shared that back. He’s got all our love and prayers coming his way. He was basically telling us to hang in there. But that’s him. That’s just the kind of person he is and the kind of teammate he is.”
The injury is the latest in a long line for Miller, third on the team in catches (20) and second in yards receiving (236).
This one puts his career in jeopardy.
Miller also missed the final six games last season after playing well enough for Chicago in 2015 to receive a two-year contract from the Bears following that season.
But he has had trouble staying healthy since Jacksonville drafted him in 2009.
A shoulder injury limited Miller to four games in 2011. He did not appear in a game the next three seasons while battling calf and foot injuries.
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