OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Wahoo native and Chicago Bear Zach Miller had a gruesome freak accident on an NFL field this weekend. There have been concerns Miller could lose his leg after the on-field incident. The Chicago Bears' head coach says he's optimistic following Miller's surgery. He has a good pulse in his lower leg and warmth in his foot.
Coach John Fox says this has been hard on the team. Fox said, “You know, it's like when your kid gets hurt. It happens. You don't want it happen. You always want what's best for your kids regardless whether it's physical or just life."
Miller played quarterback for UNO in college and he's originally from Wahoo. Locals who know him well tell 6 News that he'll fight his way back. Chet Fortune has helped Miller work through injuries before. The Omaha trainer became friends with the NFL athlete after helping him recover from past seasons.
"It was bad but if anybody can bounce back from it, it's Zach,” said Fortune.
The Bishop Neumann Cavaliers walk past Miller's signed jersey every day. He's a local legend.
"We just had a meeting with the team down here and we asked the team to say a few prayers for him because at this time at this point those are really important,” said High School Coach Tim Turman. "He was one of those guys that just always expected a lot out of himself and expected a lot out of his teammates."
When Miller is back in town he normally pays a visit to his alma Mater. He's known to always be encouraging the young guys.
"He's just down to earth. One of the nicest guys I know."
This type of severe injury isn't too common. 6 News met with a local surgeon Monday at UNMC. While we're told the artery damage isn't unheard of with athletes, it's actually an injury more common with car crash victims. Miller landed awkwardly after catching a pass.
Jason Johanning at UNMC said Miller's left leg stretched his artery causing injury. Doctors usually have just hours to address the flow of blood in the leg before amputation is a feared option.
Now that his leg is stable the work to repair any possible nerve damage is ahead.
"What happens is their leg is fixed and their body weight is pushing them forward over their tibia."
The orthopedic surgeons will at some point in the future have to reconstruct all the ligaments within the knee to make sure that the knee is stable so that he can walk and run again.
Johanning says patients with these injuries can sometimes be back walking again within as soon as a few months.