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Williams unlikely to play again


Wide receiver Harry Williams underwent surgery in Dallas on Sunday to fuse together his cervical spine.

Texans wide receiver Harry Williams is recovering in a Dallas hospital after undergoing a lengthy surgery to fuse together his cervical spine. Initial reports indicate that Williams eventually will walk again, but doctors think it is unlikely that he ever will return to football.

The news came as a sobering reality to the Texans, where Williams had become a special teams standout this preseason.

"Harry was about to be a big part of this team and have a chance in his career that he had really earned," coach Gary Kubiak said. "To go out there on that field and see that kid laying there and what he went through, I think it's just the reality of how tough this game is and what can happen to you on any given play.

"Harry is going to be OK, and that's what's important. I know we are all disappointed that he won't be able to play, but that's not what's most important."

{QUOTE}Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson had become a mentor to Williams and said words could not describe what kind of person the team has lost.

"Harry was out here working really hard," Johnson said. "He was showing up every game, making plays for us. He really was a guy that we could have counted on this season to go out and make some plays for us.

"We're rooting for him. I just can't wait to see him walk through those gates and come watch us practice."

Williams injured his neck in the first quarter of Friday's preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys when he dove to tackle kickoff returner Isaiah Stanback and Texans safety Nick Ferguson slipped and fell directly into Williams' helmet.

"My sternum was bothering me, and when I looked at the JumboTron, that's when I realized it was Harry who I collided with," Ferguson said. "It's a difficult situation to be in, and then to know that you were the other guy who ran into your teammate and put him in that difficult situation."

Williams remained paralyzed on the field and did not regain movement until he had been stabilized in an ambulance en route to Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

"The first thing that goes through your mind is the rest of his life," general manager Rick Smith said. "That's what this league is about. That's what people don't really understand what these guys subject their bodies to. It is a sacrifice when these guys put on a helmet and go out every time on the field. That's why we appreciate it, and certainly our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family, but it's a scary situation."

Here is the official statement from Texans orthopedist Dr. Walter Lowe on Williams' condition:

"Harry Williams is currently in the post-surgical recovery phase at Presbyterian Hospital-Dallas and will remain under observation. Dr. Drew Dossett performed surgery on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008 to fuse and stabilize the cervical spine levels C-2 through C-4. Given the severity and depth of the injury to his neck and spine, it is highly unlikely that Harry will return to football. We will continue to provide updates on Harry's condition as they become available."

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