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Fox Undergoes Successful Surgery

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Head Coach John Fox's aortic heart valve replacement Monday morning was successful, and the team is rallying around him.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Head Coach John Fox is out of surgery.

He underwent an aortic heart valve replacement Monday morning at Carolinas HealthCare System's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte and is currently in recovery.

"Robin Fox has kept us updated throughout the surgery and everything has been positive up to this point and time," Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway said. "Our main concern here is the wellbeing of John Fox and getting him healthy. That’s our main process right now. Again saying that our hearts go out to Robin, his family, his kids, as well as John and we’re hoping for a speedy recovery.”

Fox's wife Robin said the family "greatly appreciates the overwhelming support and well-wishes" it has received over the past few days.

"Along with his medical team, we will take great care of him so he can fully recover and get back to coaching the Broncos as soon as possible," Robin Fox said in a statement.

According to Dr. Eric Skipper, medical director of cardiac surgery at Carolinas HealthCare System's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, Fox can return to work as soon as he's "able to fulfill the requirements of the job."

Dr. Skipper was not Fox's surgeon, so he couldn't speak specifically about the coach's case. But he said it is a very common procedure that is performed in the Charlotte hospital on an almost daily basis.

"Most patients are in the hospital five-to-seven days, but exactly when someone returns to work varies quite a bit between patient to patient," Skipper said of the recovery time post-surgery. "From a matter of a few weeks to eight-to-10 weeks."

As for how much Fox will be involved with any coaching decisions during his recovery, that's yet to be determined.

Jack Del Rio has been named interim head coach/defensive coordinator in Fox's absence, and he said he would "welcome" any calls and conversations with Fox.

But that will depend on what doctors say Fox is able to do.

"The concern is going to be with John’s health—not only for this season, but John’s health for the rest of his life," Elway said. "I feel like we’re in really good hands with Jack. So we just want to make sure we’re making all the right decisions when it comes down to John’s return, when that may be."

The players said their emotions ranged from sad to shocked to worried when they heard the news that Fox would undergo heart surgery.

Now that they know he is out of surgery and on the road to recovery, they still have him on their minds.

"That’s our leader, our go-to man, the head guy," team captain David Bruton said. "It’s unfortunate that he has to go through that, but the team’s pulling for him, we’re praying for him, and we’re playing for him—just having something bigger to play for other than ourselves. We know that he would want us to continue going about work the way we’ve been going about it the first eight weeks.”

That's the attitude Del Rio put forth in his Monday press conference, as well.

"We’re on a mission to carry on and continue the things that Coach Fox has instilled and started with this football team," Del Rio said. "This is Coach Fox’s team. I’m merely the person that’s able to keep it running right now while he’s healing."

"I think we all want to make him proud. We all wish him a speedy recovery. The best way that we could honor him is to go out and play great football.”