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 remain in the hospital for up to a few weeks.
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:
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 being done.
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 Bills from 1986 to 1996 and appeared in four consecutive Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.