Auburn gymnast has surgery on injured legs

Auburn gymnast Sam Cerio underwent surgery Monday for two dislocated knees and multiple torn ligaments in both legs after she left Friday's NCAA regional on a stretcher with air casts on her legs.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery.

"Sam's surgery lasted two and a half hours and was an extreme success," Auburn coach Jeff Graba wrote on Twitter. "We know the road for full healing is going to be a long and difficult one, but we are confident that she'll be able to make a complete recovery."

On the first tumbling pass of her floor routine, Cerio landed awkwardly as she was trying to execute a double front.

Athletic trainers and medical staff tended to Cerio for nearly eight minutes before she was taken off in a stretcher. The crowd at LSU's Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the host site for the regional, gave her a standing ovation.

"The Auburn Athletics Department is thankful for the outstanding care that the Auburn and the LSU medical staffs have provided to Sam," Graba said. "We also are thankful for the support from the LSU Athletics Department for going above and beyond in this situation."

Cerio, a 5-foot senior, posted on Instagram that Friday's meet was her final night as a gymnast, expressing her gratitude to Auburn and the gymnastics community for the support.

"It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned," Cerio wrote.

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Friday night was my final night as a gymnast. After 18 years I am hanging up my grips and leaving the chalk behind. I couldn't be prouder of the person that gymnastics has made me to become. It's taught me hard work, humility, integrity, and dedication, just to name a few. It's given me challenges and road blocks that I would have never imagined that has tested who I am as a person. It may not have ended the way I had planned, but nothing ever goes as planned. Thank you Auburn family for giving me a home and a chance to continue doing the sport that will always be my first love. I am honored to have had the privilege to represent the navy and orange AU for the past 4 years with my team by my side. Thank you for letting me share my passion with you. Thank you for letting me be a part of something bigger than myself. War Eagle Always ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿงก

A post shared by Sam Cerio (@sam_cerio) on

Auburn advanced to the regional final Friday night but did not qualify for the NCAA championships after a fourth-place finish.