It appears as though the injury Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller suffered in Sunday's loss to the Saints was even more horrific than it seemed.
Miller underwent "urgent vascular surgery" in New Orleans Sunday night to "repair a torn politeal artery" on his dislocated knee, the Bears said in a statement Monday afternoon. [[454127783, C]]
The surgeons called in to perform the emergency procedure were forced to graft tissue from Miller's right leg in the process, NBC Sports Chicago reported, and ESPN's Adam Schefter characterized the operation as "trying to save... Miller's leg, not just his career."
Miller then underwent a post-operation MRI on Monday "to evaluate blood flow and anatomy of injured leg," according to ESPN's Chris Mortenson, who first broke news of the surgery.
Miller was carted off the field in the third quarter of Sunday’s game, after suffering the gruesome injury on a touchdown catch that was later overturned.
With the Saints leading 14-3, Miller leaped up in the end zone to catch a 25-yard pass from rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
As he came back to the ground, his left leg planted and buckled inward as he went down – making for a terrifying sight. (Warning: Video may be disturbing to some viewers.) [[454003513, C]]
Miller stayed down on the field as medical personnel attended to him, before being carted into the locker room and eventually ruled out for the rest of the game.
Head coach John Fox said after the game that Miller dislocated his knee, the latest incident in a long history of injuries over his nine years in the NFL.
Drafted by Jacksonville in 2009, he missed 12 games in 2011 with a dislocated shoulder. A calf injury sidelined Miller in the 2012 preseason, and the Jaguars subsequently waived him a short time later.
Miller didn’t see the field once during an eight-month stint with Tampa Bay in 2013 that ended with his release following a preseason concussion.
At the end of the 2013, the Bears signed Miller to a futures contract – but he suffered yet another setback during a 2014 preseason game, this time a foot injury that landed him on season-ending injured reserve. [[454004533, C]]
He returned to the field in 2015 for the first time since 2011, appearing in 15 games during which he hauled in 34 receptions for 439 yards and five touchdowns.
Miller signed a two-year contract extension with the Bears in March 2016, and later that year hit a career high of 47 receptions for 486 yards over 10 games before breaking his foot to once again end up back on injured reserve.
Prior to Sunday’s injury, Miller had 20 receptions for 236 yards and two touchdowns over the first seven games this year.
He remains at the University Medical Center in New Orleans, according to the Bears, where "he will stay under further evaluation."
"We are thinking of Zach and his family and support from our entire organization goes out to them," the team's statement concluded.