Johnny Knox's Scary Back Injury Leads NFL Week 15 Medical Report

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears is carted off the field after suffering an injury against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field on December18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Week 15 saw several key wide receivers go down -- Johnny Knox, A.J. Green and Stevie Johnson. SB Nation Medical Expert Dr. Ali Mohamadi explores those injuries in this week's Medical Report.

Johnny Knox, Chicago Bears (back)

Knox suffered a serious injury to his mid-back during Sunday's loss to Seattle and will undergo season-ending surgery Monday to stabilize the affected vertebrae. Knox was hit while on the ground attempting to recover his own fumble by Seahawks DL Anthony Hargrave, his back bending backwards in an awkward position. Knox was immobilized and carted of the field, but he had full movement of all four extremities following the injury.


Although the Bears haven't released exact details of the type of procedure required, when vertebral surgery is performed following an injury such as this - and when it takes place this soon afterwards - it is often done to pre-emptively lessen the likelihood of compression of the spinal cord, which could ultimately result in neurological deficits. The Bears have issued a statement that they expect Knox to have a "positive prognosis" in terms of resuming his career next year and beyond, which certainly allays the worst fears many had immediately following the injury.


A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (shoulder)


Green, whose stellar rookie campaign had until yesterday only been slowed by a mid-season knee injury, suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Bengals' win over St. Louis yesterday when falling while attempting to catch a pass. Grade 3 sprains, by definition, involve tearing of the ligaments supporting the shoulder; however, they commonly can be treated without surgery, with pain management being the biggest concern. After the game, Green himself stated he would be available to play next week against Arizona, although the determining factors will be how he tolerates the associated pain and whether the injury impacts the range of motion of the shoulder and right arm.

Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bears (groin)

The flailing Bills suffered insult and injury in Sunday's loss to Miami, with Johnson, the team's top wideout, leaving late in the game after aggravating a groin injury. Johnson has been dealing with the injury for much of the season, and with the Bills falling to 5-9 and far from contention, it would not be a surprise if he misses next week's game with the Denver Broncos.

Andre Carter, New England Patriots (quadriceps)

An unsung hero of the Patriots' defense with 10 sacks on the season, Carter suffered a lower leg injury in the second quarter of New England's win over Denver and was carted off the field in significant pain. It was revealed through his agent that Carter has likely suffered a quadriceps injury that will require surgical repair, which would almost certainly end his season. Although the Patriots have been characteristically tight-lipped about the injury thus far, it is likely Carter will undergo further testing today to determine the exact nature of the injury and prognosis for recovery.

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