Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley left the field on a stretcher on Monday against the Denver Broncos with a neck injury but “is going to be OK”, according to head coach Jon Gruden.
Conley, 24, suffered the injury with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter when he was tripped while attempting to make a tackle on Royce Freeman and then inadvertently kicked in the head by team-mate Johnathan Abram.
Play was stopped for around 10 minutes while medical staff and trainers tended to Conley, who recorded four total tackles before exiting. He was immobilised on a back board and left in his helmet, with the facemask removed.
Conley gave the crowd a thumbs up while being taken off the field.
“I got good word on him that he’s going to be OK,” Gruden told reporters. “I don’t know his status for the next game, but most importantly the kid is all right.
“That was a scary hit that he took, but all the reports that I have are very, very positive.”
Abram, the hard-hitting first-round draft pick, was penalised on the play for leading with his helmet while tackling the Broncos’ Freeman.
The personal foul helped the Broncos eventually get a field goal to cut Oakland’s lead to 14-6, but Gruden’s team eventually won 24-16.
Abram explained after the match that he had no idea how Conley was injured.
“I really didn’t see what happened,” the safety told reporters. “I think the running back fell on top of him or something. We were praying for him. But we had to go out there and finish the game for him.”
The Raiders originally selected Conley out of Ohio State with the number 24 pick in the 2017 draft.
He had three interceptions and 16 pass breakups in 17 career games prior to the Broncos match.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2019