ShareThis Page
Sports

Bengals' Pollack needs neck surgery, career in doubt

| Friday, Dec. 15, 2006

CINCINNATI - Bengals linebacker David Pollack will need surgery for the cracked bone in his neck, likely ending his football career.

Pollack cracked the bone while making a tackle against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 17 and was placed in a halo brace that immobilized his neck. Doctors told him that if the fracture healed without surgery, he could resume his career.

The former first-round draft pick was examined Thursday by a specialist who recommended surgery on the fracture, which is expected in the next few weeks.

Pollack wasn't available for comment. All that the Bengals would say is that "no forecast of Pollack's eventual return to football will be made at this time."

The news was released after players were done practicing in the afternoon.

During an interview in October, Pollack said that his career would most likely be over if he had to have surgery.

"If it heals by itself, then I'm fine," he said at the time. "It's just like anything else. I'll be fine to play again. It's just a matter of how it heals."

He said during the interview that if the crack in the bone didn't heal on its own, doctors would have to fuse two vertebrae to stabilize it. He has full range of motion in his arms and legs, but would be risking paralysis if he tried to play after such an operation and hurt the neck again.

"One doctor said it: Not very many people walk away from a broken neck twice," Pollack said. "And that's something that kind of hits home, you know.

"When you fuse two vertebrae together, the likelihood for injury is greatly increased."

Pollack was a first-round draft — 17th overall — in 2005 out of Georgia, where he played defensive end. The Bengals picked him intending to move him to linebacker.

A contract dispute cut into his rookie training camp, and he didn't start until the sixth game. A sprained knee forced him to miss two games during the season. Despite the setbacks, he ranked second on the team with 4 1/2 sacks.

The Bengals were expecting a big second season out of Pollack. He snapped his neck while tackling Browns running back Reuben Droughns during the second game of the season. As he lay on the field, he didn't have feeling in his arms.

He was regaining sensation when he was taken off the field, which made him think he merely pinched a nerve. Medical tests found the small fracture, and he was put in the protective halo immediately.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me