Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke came through nearly four hours of spinal surgery Thursday in excellent shape, and doctors said he should be ready to resume his career next year.
"He looks great," Dr. Charles Wingo said. The surgeon performed two operations, fusing the sixth and seventh vertebrae to stabilize Weinke's spine and removing a bone chip about the size of a little finger nail that created numbness in the quarterback's throwing arm.
Wingo said the pain from Weinke's arm disappeared shortly after the operation, and the numbness was gone from his fingers.
"It's really encouraging to see somebody who has such a quick recovery," Wingo said.
Weinke is expected to be released from Tallahassee Memorial Regional Health Care by Sunday and start rehabilitation work in about two weeks with water aerobics. He should be able to run and lift weights in about six weeks.
Weinke's injury occurred when Virginia defensive end Patrick Kerney sacked him Saturday on the last play of the first half.
"It's sure nice to be strong when you get run over by a freight train," Wingo said. "The stronger muscles you've got, the less chance you have to be pulled apart."
The surgery was similar to an operation performed last December on former Florida State quarterback Brad Johnson, now with the Minnesota Vikings. Johnson recovered in time to begin the season but has been sidelined by two unrelated injuries.
| Chris Weinke is expected to recover quickly from his injury. (AP) |
The medical staff at Florida State initially thought Weinke suffered only a mild concussion and nerve pain in his neck.
"This is such a stoic young man he really didn't want to make a big deal of it when it happened," Wingo said.
Weinke, a 26-year-old sophomore from St. Paul, Minn., passed for 1,487 yards and 19 touchdowns in his first season as a starter for the fifth-ranked Seminoles.
Florida State (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) will try to pin down a seventh consecutive ACC title Saturday at Wake Forest. Sophomore Marcus Outzen will replace Weinke.
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