Baltimore running back Willis McGahee suffered a neck injury late in the fourth quarter of a 23-14 loss at Pittsburgh. Leveled by Steelers safety Ryan Clark after catching a pass, McGahee was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital.
Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne said McGahee had movement in his arms and legs and was “neurologically intact.” McGahee, who complained of neck pain after Clark’s hit, will be kept in Pittsburgh overnight for observation. Ravens team physician Dr. Leann Curl is staying in Pittsburgh to monitor McGahee’s condition, Byrne said.
McGahee was hurt with 3:29 remaining. Immediately upon turning up-field following a reception, McGahee was floored by a non-penalized blow to his head and shoulder area by Clark. The impact also temporarily stunned Clark, who needed assistance leaving the field.
McGahee received roughly 10 minutes of on-field medical attention before being strapped to a stretcher and lifted onto a cart.
“It was a heck of a hit for one thing,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Your first thought is obviously concern. But once we got out there and hearing the doctors talk and seeing him move around, it felt like he was going to be OK.”
McGahee rushed for both of Baltimore’s touchdowns Sunday and led the team with 60 rushing yards on 20 attempts.
While the extent of his neck damage wasn’t immediately known, McGahee has overcome a career-threatening injury before. At the University of Miami in early 2003, McGahee suffered such serious knee damage that he didn’t play the entire 2003 NFL season after being drafted by Buffalo. McGahee rebounded to rush for more than 1,000 yards in three of the next four seasons.
McGahee, 27, struggled with knee problems again in 2008. He finished the regular season ranked second on the team in rushing with 671 yards and seven touchdowns. McGahee led Baltimore in postseason rushing with 154 yards on 39 attempts.