After Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Quincy Black's violent helmet-to-helmet collision with Ryan Mathews last November, head coach Greg Schiano's hope was that the neck injury would not be career-threatening.
Three months and one surgery later, Black's future with the Bucs and the NFL remains in doubt.
"You generally like to walk out of any surgery and say that it was a successful surgery, but the reality is, that because of the nerve damage and the nerve grafting and everything, you won't know if it's successful or not for several months," general manager Mark Dominik told the Tampa Tribune on Thursday.
"It's a tough injury and a unique injury and ... it's hard for us to have any timetable or feel for it."
Dominik already has begun making contingency plans, as Black is expected to miss "most, if not all, of training camp and the 2013 season."
If the Bucs opt to release Black to save $5.5 million in salary, the linebacker becomes eligible for a $1 million insurance payment this year and $500,000 in 2014.Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.