Hall of Famer Jim Kelly underwent 12-hours of surgery Wednesday night to remove cancer and reconstruct the lower part of his jaw.
The procedure, which took place at Mt. Sinai West in New York, was a success, according to ESPN.
“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.”
This is Kelly’s third bout with cancer. He announced Mar. 1 that oral cancer had returned after he had jaw surgery to remove it in 2013. Kelly, 58, also underwent chemotherapy in 2014 after cancer was found in his maxillary sinus. He told the Buffalo News he discovered this latest occurrence after consulting doctors about severe pain in his jaw. Extensive reconstructive surgery was needed in addition to the surgery to remove the cancer.
After the operation, Kelly’s wife, Jill, released a statement saying that his recovery would be “extensive” and asked fans to pray for him. He’s expected to be in the hospital for at least the next two weeks.
Kelly played his entire 11-year NFL career with the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996, leading them to four consecutive Super Bowls.