Anderson Silva begins a long road to rehabilitation Sunday, when he will reportedly check out of a Las Vegas hospital. The departure comes mere hours after Silva underwent surgery to stabilize a badly broken left leg, sustained in a freak occurrence Saturday night at UFC 168.
The report comes Sunday evening via MMA broadcaster and reporter Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com. According to the story, Silva's manager, Jorge Guimaraes, said the longtime UFC middleweight champion was "fine...just sad and in pain."
Silva will stay in a hotel in Las Vegas for a few more days before heading home to Brazil.
Early in the second round of Saturday's UFC 168 main event, a rematch of the July bout between Silva and Chris Weidman that saw Weidman dethrone Silva with a surprise knockout, Anderson threw a routine leg kick on Weidman, who raised his leg in response to check the blow.
Silva's shin made contact with Weidman's knee, shattering Silva's tibia and fibula in grisly fashion, bending the leg into unnatural angles and producing a nauseating snapping sound. Silva crumpled to the ground, wailing in pain. Weidman immediately backed off and began celebrating the victory.
The injury immediately entered itself onto sports' most unpopular highlight reel, right alongside Joe Theismann, Kevin Ware, Tim Krumrie and others through the years who have suffered gruesome athletic trauma in front of television cameras.
After the event, the UFC released a statement, per Matt Erickson of USA Today, detailing Silva's injury and the surgery he received to stabilize the injury.
"The successful surgery...inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson's left tibia," the statement read. "The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time. Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months."
Silva is widely regarded as the best MMA fighter of all time. However, he is 38 years old, and the injury casts very serious doubts on his future in fighting or any other athletic pursuit. Guimaraes said in the MMAFighting report that it was too early to speculate on next career steps for Silva.