Doctors completed a complicated 12-hour surgery Wednesday night in New York to remove oral cancer and reconstruct the upper jaw of Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
"We successfully removed Mr. Kelly's cancer from his upper jaw and lymph nodes from his neck," Dr. Mark Urken, head and neck surgeon at Mount Sinai West, said in a statement. "We then reconstructed his upper jaw. Mr. Kelly is resting comfortably post-operatively."
Kelly is expected to be in the hospital for about two weeks and will be screened again in three months.
The surgery involved taking part of Kelly's fibula and blood vessels from his leg to rebuild his upper jaw, including filling a gap left by a previous surgery.
Kelly's wife, Jill, said in a statement that Kelly's recovery will be "extensive" and asked fans to pray for him. She also posted to Instagram after the surgery was complete:
Surgery is complete. Thank GOD and the amazing team of doctors and nurses that took care of Jim today...and will continue to take care of him as he heads into a very significant time of recovery. #12 Can you see it? During pre-op the computer in our section wasn't working so they had to get a new one. Then Jim says to me, "Did you see the computer? You should take a picture." And so I did! As silly as it sounds, God gave us the #12 computer. And almost 12 hours of surgery later....#12 is now on the road to recovery. I'll be posting more details soon, but wanted to say "THANK YOU" for praying and standing on the promises of God! We have a long road ahead, but we do not walk alone...the Lord goes before us and is with us...we will not fear. (Photos are from before surgery, just look at his smile. He is my inspiration and hero❤️) #KellyTough
Kelly announced March 1 that a biopsy revealed a recurrence of oral cancer. He later told The Buffalo News that he sought surgery to relieve what had become severe pain in his jaw, and the findings of the biopsy resulted in a more extensive reconstructive procedure.
This is the third time Kelly has been treated for cancer. He had jaw surgery in 2013 to remove oral cancer and later underwent chemotherapy when cancer was found in his maxillary sinus in 2014.
Kelly, 58, played for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996 and appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.