Bears tight end Zach Miller injured his knee making a touchdown catch during Chicago’s eventual 20-12 loss in New Orleans. The touchdown was taken away by review, one of the most perplexing replay reversals you’ll ever see, but Miller was carted off, presumably having suffered multiple ligament injuries.

That was certainly bad enough in the abstract; the 33-year-old Miller’s career was likely over, after all. But the specifics of the injury went beyond the reported dislocated knee. In fact, according to new details from Chris Mortenson, there was an immediate diagnosis of a vascular emergency, one that required emergency surgery and arterial grafts in an effort to avoid amputation:

Bears coach John Fox spoke about the injury today as well, via the Bears:

Coach John Fox told reporters Monday afternoon that he had spoken to Miller on the phone a few hours earlier and that the tight end “pretty much wanted his touchdown back.”

“He was in good spirits,” Fox said. “Right now the report is they’re obviously going to take a while for it to make sure it remains good, but he’s got good pulse in his lower leg as well as he has good feeling. His foot is warm, which is a good sign. Not that he’s out of the woods by any stretch, but it’s as good as could be expected at this point.”

Asked whether Miller was still in jeopardy of losing part of his leg—a possibility that had been reported earlier—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 praised the Bears medical team for quickly diagnosing a vascular issue that required immediate attention. Miller was rushed from the Mercedes Benz Superdome to University Medical Center New Orleans, where he underwent emergency surgery.

That’s just awful news overall. And, to add to a literal injury, that was so clearly a touchdown. Miller himself was apparently still arguing his case today:

Fox said that he was speaking to Miller’s wife, Kristen, when the tight end snagged the phone.

“I was actually shocked to hear his voice,” Fox said. “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.”

Hopefully Miller continues to recover, and is able to have full quality of life going forward. Football is an incredibly violent, risky game, and as we saw with Miller’s injury, it doesn’t even require much contact to be seriously injured.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.