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Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller undergoes emergency surgery to save left leg

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, 2:21 p.m.
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears carries the football against Shaq Thompson #54 of the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Zach Miller #86 of the Chicago Bears carries the football against Shaq Thompson #54 of the Carolina Panthers in the first quarter at Soldier Field on October 22, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller underwent surgery Sunday night after a game in New Orleans and surgeons were reportedly trying to save his injured left leg

EPSN.com reported the surgery was performed to repair a damaged artery in Miller's leg after he dislocated his knee.

Vascular surgeons were attempting to repair Miller's leg by grafting tissue from the other leg to repair the damaged artery, according to ESPN.

Miller injured the leg Sunday as he caught a touchdown pass that was later overturned. He landed awkwardly after attempting to make the catch.

The Bears tweeted around 1:30 p.m. Monday that he is recovering at University Medical Center in New Orleans.

"We are thinking of Zach and his family and support from our entire organization goes out to them," the Bears said in the statement.

"It's brutal, gruesome," Bears right guard Kyle Long said in a Chicago Tribune article.

"I didn't watch it after I saw it the first time. To go from the elation of, 'What a play, what a throw!' in that situation of the game to overturn (the touchdown call) and Zach obviously being injured … it's really unfortunate. We lost a really good guy today."

Dr. Andrew Hoel, a vascular surgeon and assistant professor at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, told the Tribune he saw video of the injury.

"With this type of injury, the knee is dislocated or it goes the wrong direction from where it's supposed to turn," he told the Tribune. "And directly behind the knee is the popliteal artery, the main artery that gives blood flow down to the remainder of the lower part of the leg and the foot. The popliteal in this type of injury can get stretched or torn, and so ... the person or patient can lose blood flow to the lower leg as a result."

The popliteal artery is behind the knee, and is the only main blood supply to the leg below the knee , according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Miller is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, when surgeons will evaluate the blood flow and overall anatomy of his leg, EPSN reported.

NFL players took to Twitter to offer support.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991, bschmitt@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Bencschmitt.

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