It was a very scary moment, too often played out in today's rough and tumble world of professional football.
Immediately following a collision with Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, eight-year veteran John Mobley lay motionless on the artificial turf, players from both teams huddled around him silently praying, hoping and reflecting.
Broncos' trainers worked meticulously with emergency technicians preparing the stretcher, monitoring vital signs and making necessary arrangements for transportation to the shock trauma wing of the University of Maryland Medical Center where the linebacker would be put through a series of tests to determine the exact extent of his injuries.
Fortunately, preliminary tests indicate that the injuries do not appear to be life, or career threatening.
"At the present time, the diagnosis is a spinal cord contusion, which is swelling and bruising around the spinal cord, said head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos. "They've done every test that you can imagine on him. He was experiencing some burning in his right arm, all his feeling has returned to normal."
Mobley, long considered to be one of the hearts of the Denver defense, will remain overnight at the Medical Center while doctors closely monitor his progress.
"I was praying that he'd be all right, said teammate Al Wilson. "Forget about football, forget about everything else. It's about him and his family, and him being able to live his life fully. Forget about football, this is life."
The somber tone of the Denver locker room echoed concern for a fallen teammate.
"Forget football right now, defensive end Bertrand Berry told reporters. "We're just worried about his health and making sure that he's 100% healthy. If he comes back to play, great, if not, we just pray that he's able to do what he's used to doing."
Despite his initial loss of feeling, team officials were encouraged when the linebacker was able to acknowledge the ovation from the Baltimore fans with a quick wave as he was carted off the field.
After overnight observations, Mobley is expected to return to Denver where team physicians will closely monitor his rehabilitation. Diagnosis for a return date is far too early to speculate at this point, but sources indicate a minimum 4-6 week recouparation.
Mobley suffers neck injury
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