Oregon tight end Pharaoh Brown suffered a gruesome season-ending injury in the Ducks' 52-27 win at Utah in November, but even the stomach-turning video could not prepare us for the severity of the injury, which came to light in a profile from The Oregonian this week.
Brown tore two ligaments in his knee while stepping on a teammates foot near the goal line -- video can be found here, but it was not replayed on the broadcast -- and the Utah medical staff loaded him in an ambulance to be treated at the University of Utah hospital. There, Brown told The Oregonian, doctors discovered "a stretched artery in his leg that caused internal bleeding and cut off blood flow below his right shin." The complication, doctors said, may require amputation.
He expected to join his teammates back in Eugene the following day, believing the diagnosis was limited to ligament damage. In the early morning hours, a doctor burst into his hospital room -- Brown remembers his message being so urgent that the doctor didn't even introduce himself -- to brief the tight end on the artery's precarious condition. If not corrected soon, amputation was likely, he said he was told. Brown called an Oregon medical staffer to share the news and the recommendation came quickly: Get surgery.
"That just shocked me," Brown said. "Once he said I wasn't going to be able to walk or run again I was like, all right."
Brown remained in the hospital in Salt Lake City for four more days before his leg had healed enough to return home. Back in Eugene, Brown has toiled on the long road to recovery, undergoing more surgeries and dealing with the struggles of catching up in school after sitting out the winter quarter with a medical waiver.
Oregon's compliance office has been providing plenty of support to help Brown be eligible when, or if, he decides to return to the field.
"People ask me am I going to play, am I going to redshirt," Brown related to the paper. "I mean, this is a career decision, so I want to make sure my stuff is fully healed, that I can do everything and not rush back. That's why I don't even look that long out. If I'm able to play, I'll play. If I'm not, I'm not.
"I'm not getting out there till I'm 100 percent healed and not only 100 percent healed but 100 percent in my mind that I'm healed. A lot of people get out there and are timid to cut. When I'm on the football field, I'm a different guy and I only know how to play one way -- that's fast. I play hard, real nasty. I can't take it soft. I know how I play and how I gotta be to play at that level."
Brown finished with 420 yards and six touchdowns from 25 catches in 10 games of action before his injury.