November 17, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (82) catches a pass against Denver Broncos free safety Rahim Moore (26) during the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore had surgery Monday morning for lateral compartment syndrome in his lower leg, interim coach Jack Del Rio said.
Moore is out "this week for sure, possibly longer," Del Rio said. He was experiencing pain during Sunday night's win against Kansas City.
Compartment syndrome occurs when pressure within the muscles builds. This pressure can decrease blood flow, which prevents nourishment and oxygen from reaching nerve and muscle cells, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
"It's a new one for me. I'm learning about it. It's kind of one of these freakish things that kind of occurred," Del Rio said. "It can be a very serious injury and can lead to loss of limb or loss of life."
Director of Orthopedic Trauma at the University of Colorado Hospital, Jason Stoneback, MD, says some kind of impact caused Moore's lower leg muscle to bleed and swell.
"That swelling progresses rather rapidly at times," Stoneback said.
Too much swelling can cut off blood flow, causing the muscle to die.
Most patients avoid amputation, but permanent muscle damage is more common. The key factor for trauma surgeons is relieving the pressure as quickly as possible.
The still unanswered question for Broncos fans is the severity of Moore's injury.
Stoneback has performed hundreds of surgeries like the one Moore had Monday morning to relieve pressure in his lower calf area.
The procedure usually takes about half an hour.
"Best case scenario is he should return once his wounds have healed," Stoneback said. "Worst case scenario is he lost a significant portion of muscle and his ability and function in that leg will be compromised for life."
Moore called the team in the middle of the night, Del Rio said, because of the pain, and he was taken to surgery.
Del Rio added: "The best way I can explain it is he had a muscle that was bleeding."
Moore, who has 44 tackles and two interceptions this season, was listed after the game with a lower leg injury.
Also uncertain is the status of Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker, who is being evaluated for a concussion. Del Rio said Welker is undergoing all the league's concussion procedure.
His status for Sunday's game New England, where he played the past six seasons, will be determined after he goes through the league's concussion procedures.
Welker was hit hard in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs running across the middle after a catch with nearly 11 minutes left in the game.
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