Collins Has Spine Surgery—September 30, 2011

Three-time Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins of the Green Bay Packers had surgery on his neck, with agent Alan Herman saying the procedure was a success but his client’s football future is uncertain.

“Does he continue his career? Is there an issue there that the doctor’s recommendation is that he doesn’t play? We won’t know that answer for another six months,” Herman told ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde.

“There’s no answer right now. We’re not going to know for six months. But there’s no a doubt in my mind Nick Collins wants to play football provided he’s healthy. He’s 28 years old and has got a bunch of years ahead of him if he recovers from this. But he’s also a smart guy, and if there’s a risk of potentially hurting himself, then Nick will make the right decision.”

According to Herman, Dr. Frank Cammisa, the chief of the Spine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, did a “single spine fusion” in which the ruptured disc was removed, with bone from Collins’ hip fused in its place.

“There isn’t really a big body of research on players who have had fusions who have returned to play,” Herman said. “Yes, there have been players who’ve had fusions who have played, and there are guys who’ve had it who haven’t played. There wasn’t any percentage. Everybody’s different. It all depends on the healing process. If the signals throughout his spinal cord are normal, if there’s no narrowing of the spinal column, then he has a chance.”

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