Lorenzo Mauldin was somewhat lucky.
The Jets outside linebacker was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Cleveland Browns and taken to the hospital. It initially was believed that he had suffered head and neck injuries, but the Jets later announced that the rookie had a concussion, not a neck injury.
According to the team, Mauldin was awake and had feeling in his extremities. As of Sunday night, all testing was complete and he was to remain in the hospital overnight for observation.
Without any official word on the severity of his injuries, Mauldin's teammates forced themselves to think positively.
"It was tough, man," said Jets safety Calvin Pryor, who played at Louisville with Mauldin. "I went out there and checked on him and he still had his eyes closed . . . so I wasn't able to say anything to him and he didn't respond or anything."
Like Pryor, coach Todd Bowles said he saw "little movement" from Mauldin after the outside linebacker ended up at the bottom of a pile during a Jets fumble return. He eventually made it to his feet but immediately fell forward and was motionless on the turf for several minutes.
"I just saw him get weak and he fell again, and after that, it looked like his eyes rolled into the back of his head," running back Chris Ivory said of Mauldin, who spent most of his life in foster care before being drafted by the Jets in the third round.
Bowles said he was "very concerned" about Mauldin, adding that his college roommate, Anthony Young, was carted off the field during his second year with Indianapolis. "[He] broke his neck. He never played again."
Linebacker Calvin Pace said he didn't see the collision, just Mauldin trying to get up and falling. He added, "Just hoping for the best. I don't know exactly what it was, but it didn't look good."