ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Monday morning, Broncos safety Rahim Moore underwent surgery for a serious condition known as lateral compartment syndrome.
"The timeframe is unknown at this point," Interim Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio said of Moore's recovery. "He'll be out this week, for sure, and possibly longer."
After leaving Sunday's win against the Chiefs with a lower-leg injury, the safety called Head Athletic Trainer Steve Antonopulos in the middle of the night because his leg still hurt and felt weak. Antonopulos and the Broncos' medical staff diagnosed Moore's leg injury as lateral compartment syndrome, which is potentially life-threatening.
Del Rio said he was glad Moore thought to call the trainer, because holding off from the surgery could've had dire results.
"In fact we encouraged our guys, just remember, here's Greek's number – please, anything at any time, no matter how minimal you think it is, call and make sure," he said. "The doctors can check it out, Greek can check it out. With all the experience they have and knowledge, they can help you avoid a disaster."
The syndrome occurs when excessive pressure build up inside an enclosed space in the body -- in Moore's case, his leg -- resulting from bleeding or swelling after an injury.
"It could have been something that started during the week. It could have been something that started during pregame warm ups. I don't know. I'm not sure anyone knows," Del Rio said. "But at some point he ended up with basically a muscle that was bleeding. That's the best way I can I explain it – that's my understanding of it."
That results in dangerously high pressure and makes it hard for blood to flow to and from the affected area. It can cause severe tissue damage and a loss of body function or even death.
According to WebMD, among the symptoms of compartment syndrome are pain that seems greater than expected for an injury; a new and persistent deep ache; numbness, pins-and-needles or electricity-like pain in the limb; and swelling, tightness and bruising.
The surgery is designed to relieve the pressure in the limb.
"It's just one of these kind of freakish things that can occur – and it did," Del Rio said. "And fortunately, he called 'Greek' (Antonopulos) – I think Greek is as good as anybody out there. They got the doctors right on it and he went in and had the surgery. I mean, it can be a very serious injury. It can lead to a loss of a limb and potentially a loss of life, so it's a very significant injury."
This season, Moore had accumulated 44 tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions. He had started all 10 games.
When the safety left Sunday's contest, Mike Adams took over his spot in the lineup.
The 10th-year veteran started all 16 games for the club in 2012 and notched 80 tackles, a sack, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a safety.
Special-teams captain David Bruton is another option at safety, having started six career games including two postseason contests. Rounding out the players at the position currently on the active roster is Omar Bolden, who transitioned from cornerback to safety this year. He has played in every game this season.
"Mike stepped in, played over 50 snaps and played well for us," Del Rio said of Adams' contribution against the Chiefs. "David Bruton is in the flanks and playing in some packages for us. So it's great to have depth and it's great to have some veteran depth and guys that you can count on to step up, step in and play well for you."