Kevin Everett had surgery Sunday evening, hours after the Buffalo Bills reserve tight end showed no signs of movement after sustaining a Cervical spine injury in the team’s season opener against Denver.
Bills spokesman Scott Berchtold said he was informed by the team’s medical staff the player went into surgery at about 8 p.m. Berchtold said he had no further information, and didn’t know whether Everett had shown any signs of movement since he was driven off the field in an ambulance.
At 9:45 p.m., as he was leaving Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital, Bills’ tight end Ryan Neufeld told Buffalo’s WIVB-TV the surgery “went well as far as we can tell and he’s recovering right now.”
Bills general manager Marv Levy said doctors informed the team that it’s too early to determine the severity of the injury and they will know more after monitoring the player overnight.
“Certainly, we feel the injury is serious, but I don’t want to speculate, and that’s what the doctors told us,” Levy told The Associated Press. “They told us to wait to hear from them before making any speculative announcement.”
Coach Dick Jauron said immediately following the game that the player sustained a cervical spine injury, but wouldn’t discuss the severity of the injury.
Everett’s agent, Brian Overstreet, was not immediately available for comment.
Everett fell to the ground and never moved after a helmet-to-helmet hit when he tackled Denver’s Domenik Hixon during a kickoff to open the second half. Everett was placed on a backboard with his head and body immobilized, and carefully loaded into an ambulance at the Broncos 30.
The game was delayed for about 15 minutes, and the Bills gathered at the sideline while doctors attended to the player.
Everett’s injury cast a pall over the Bills following a season-opening 15-14 loss, with several players expressing concern about their teammate.
“It was real hard,” cornerback Terrence McGee said. “I watched the whole thing and he never moved. … It’s real sad to see him go off on a stretcher, but we hope he’s OK.”
“It’s real sad,” added receiver Roscoe Parrish, who played with Everett at the University of Miami. “When something like that happens to a close friend of yours, and you know how much he loves football, it bothers you.”
Denver players expressed concern, including kicker Jason Elam, who kicked the winning field goal as time ran out.
Before taking questions after the game, Elam said: “What we heard is not good, so for our whole team, our prayers go out to him.”
Buffalo’s third-round draft pick in 2005, Everett missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, and spent most of his second season limited to special teams duty.
The Bills liked Everett’s 6-foot-4 frame, and were counting on him to play a role in their passing attack this season.
Buffalo also lost three defensive starters to injury.
Free safety Ko Simpson is out indefinitely after breaking his left ankle. Cornerback Jason Webster is out indefinitely after breaking his forearm in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Coy Wire, filling in for injured starter Keith Ellison, sprained his knee in the first quarter.
Simpson was hurt when he had his feet cut out from beneath him by teammate Jason Webster as the two were attempting to tackle Broncos receiver Javon Walker. Simpson fell immediately to the ground and was unable to put any weight on his left foot.
Buffalo’s fourth-round pick in the 2006 draft, Simpson started 15 games last season, and was a member of the NFL’s youngest safety tandem, playing alongside rookie first-round pick Donte Whitner.
Third-year player Jim Leonhard took over for Simpson.
Wire was examined on the sideline, but made his way to the locker room on his own. Reserve Mario Haggan replaced Wire.
It’s unclear when Webster was hurt. The Bills signed the seven-year NFL veteran last spring to take over as starter after losing Nate Clements to San Francisco in free agency.