Bilal Powell has been placed on injured reserve and will be undergoing season ending neck surgery. According to reports, he has a bulging or herniated disc in his cervical spine, likely putting pressure on his spinal cord, a nerve root, or both.
He likely will be having an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, or ACDF. The procedure involves an incision in the front of the neck, removal of the offending disc or discs, and replacement with either a bone or synthetic graft. A titanium plate is placed to hold everything together. Over time, the bone above and below the damaged disc will grow together, which stabilizes the joint permanently.
It’s a very common surgery, the same one that Peyton Manning ultimately had. Although a return to play is certainly possible, the ability to return depends on many factors. Age, position, neurological status all play a role in the RTP decision.