Spine surgeon Neel Anand didn't see Bears receiver Johnny Knox's gruesome injury.
But Anand was encouraged when he learned that Knox had full movement throughout his body.
"Neurologically, he's completely fine," said Anand, the director of Orthopaedic Spine Surgery at the Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. "The only thing left is the nature of the stability."
In the first quarter, as Knox was falling to recover his fumble, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Anthony Hargrove drilled him and pushed his back backward, the only direction it's not intended. He was placed on a flat board, loaded onto a motorized cart and transported, via an ambulance, to a local hospital. The team announced after the game that Knox had full movement in all his extremities and that he would have surgery Monday to stabilize a vertebra in his back.
Anand said the most common -- based on that blow -- is the junction the thoracic and lumbar curvatures. The lowest vertebra in the thoracic section is T-12 and the highest in the lumbar area is L1.
Anand said the key then is to determine if its an "unstable or potentially unstable fracture."
Knox will undergo surgery in the Chicago area.
Doctors will have to determine whether to go through the front or the back and likely will use screws and rods to stabilize the vertebra.
"If it's an innocuous fracture, and all he needs is screws and rods, he could come back in three to six months," Anand said.
Some surgeries sideline an athlete for a year. But Anand said Knox having full movement is an encouraging sign.
"He should be OK by next season, even if it's a complete reconstruction," he said.
Anand declined to say who he's performed surgeries on.