Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFCâ€™s orthopedic surgeon, on Monday said Silvaâ€™s recovery should be one that could have him fighting again if he chooses to. And in fact, before surgery, Silva was thinking about when he might be able to return.
During pre-op, Silva had this to say:
Silva (33-6 MMA, 16-2 UFC), widely regarded as the greatest fighter in MMA history, broke his left tibia and fibula in the main event of UFC 168 this past Saturday. The Brazilian was attempting to regain the middleweight title he lost to Chris Weidman in July, when he was knocked out for the first time in MMA and suffered the first loss of his UFC career. Silva left MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on a stretcher to the shock of fans in attendance â€“ many of which had traveled from Brazil to see one of that countryâ€™s national sporting heroes. Dr. Steven Sanders said he placed an titanium rod in Silvaâ€™s leg to stabilize his tibia, and his fibula was reset. Sanders also said the surgery took about an hour with Silva under general anesthesia.
Here is Dr. Steven Sanders direct quote:
My prognosis for healing is three to six months. But there are also soft tissue components that have to heal. If I had to make a guess less than 48 hours from the operation, it would be the fracture healing in three to six months, and attempting to train, six to nine months.
Sanders told USA TODAY Sports there was nothing to indicate that the bones in Silvaâ€™s leg may have been weakened prior to the kick that broke it. Silvaâ€™s fighting style has long been one that involves kicks, and although he is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, he is best known for his Muay Thai and kickboxing. Sanders, who said his relationship with the UFC goes back to the promotionâ€™s purchase by Zuffa, LLC, performed the surgery at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, a Level I trauma center, where Silva remains as he starts his recovery process. Sanders said Silva already is attempting to walk with crutches in the hospital, and that as his pain starts to minimize, Silva will start to test out how much pressure he can put on his leg as it begins to heal.
When asked what the UFC will do without one of its most bankable stars â€“ after its top draw, Georges St-Pierre, vacated his welterweight title earlier this month to walk away indefinitely. The UFC Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Epstein wasn't worried about ti right now and had this to say:
We've got more than 400 fighters under contract and a lot of amazing champions, Anderson Silva is a special guy, and we'll never try to replace someone like him. But the most important thing is he makes a speedy recovery. â€¦ My first concern was, letâ€™s make sure we take care of Anderson.
Silva started his UFC career 16-0 an won the promotionâ€™s middleweight title in his second fight in the company. He held it for nearly seven years until his loss to Weidman in July. Until that point, he was regarded as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Now he's hungry again and it looks as if he's going to try to recover and make a comeback.
A true Champion fighting a true fight, Anderson Silva, we wish you a speedy and successful recovery and hope to see you again.