Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller has had emergency surgery to save his left leg after dislocating his knee and suffering ligament damage on Sunday.
The 33-year-old had surgery in a New Orleans hospital following the Bears’ 20-12 defeat by the New Orleans Saints.
The injury happened as Miller landed awkwardly after making a one-handed catch during the third quarter.
Former NFL head team doctor David Chao said it was a “true emergency”, adding that “early action” could save his leg.
Chao, who had 17 years’ experience working in the NFL, added: “A minimum of two ligaments are torn. This is an injury like a knee dislocation.”
Bears coach John Fox said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with him.”
Reports in the American media say vascular surgeons were called in an effort to save Miller’s leg, including “grafting tissue from the other leg to repair the damaged artery”.