STILLWATER — Oklahoma State officials are encouraged by early reports concerning wide receiver Artrell Woods, who suffered a serious back injury during a routine weight lifting session Friday morning. Multiple sources said it's too early to draw any conclusions, but Woods was moving his toes and flexed some muscles after undergoing surgery for 3 1/2 hours Friday at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. One source said Woods was out of bed and standing on Saturday, and doctors may have him attempt to walk today. "I was told surgery went well,” offensive coordinator Larry Fedora said via cell phone, driving back from a vacation in Florida. "We're concerned about his health, but are encouraged that our medical staff and doctors are providing the best care possible.” Sources said a disc was put back in place during surgery after Woods suffered a vertebrae injury from a "freak accident” during a step-up drill that is designed to build leg strength. "I'm driving back from vacation, so I don't have any details,” wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer said in a brief cell phone conversation, "but when I talked to him on the phone at the hospital, he was in good spirits.” The injury occurred Friday morning during a common drill for high school, college and pro athletes. In the drill, the athletes place between 75 and 100 pounds of weight behind their shoulders and step up and down off a box. The routine doesn't require a spotter. According to sources, Woods twisted an ankle and suffered the injury after he lost his balance. It's too early to speculate whether Woods will play football again. It could be several days, possibly weeks, before doctors can address Woods' long-term prognosis. In a press release, OSU head athletic trainer Rob Hunt said Woods is expected to be moved out of intensive care this weekend and could be discharged from the hospital "in the next several days.” Coach Mike Gundy and his staff have been on vacation the past week and are scheduled to meet on Monday to begin preparation for the upcoming season. Gundy was unavailable for comment but was expected to arrive in Oklahoma on Saturday. Woods primarily played on special teams and had two receptions last year as a true freshman. After a strong spring performance, Woods was one of the leading candidates to start opposite all-Big 12 wide receiver Adarius Bowman. Woods arguably was the offensive MVP in the spring game after hauling in four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. "Artrell is one of our starters, a big part of what we do offensively,” Fedora said. "You hope for the best.” The NFL's David Pollack, a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, is rehabilitating a similar vertebrae injury. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis announced last week Pollack won't play this season. A three-time All-American at Georgia, Pollack fractured his C-6 vertebra while making a tackle in a Sept. 17 game against the Cleveland Browns. Pollack was in a restrictive halo for three months and underwent surgery on Jan. 3. Pollack suffered no paralysis and has resumed daily activities. His agent, R.J. Gosner, said Pollack's goal is to resume his NFL career, but Pollack said in a statement last week that the nature of the injury forces him to take it a step at a time. "I'm grateful for my recovery to this point and I'm working out every day to get my full strength back,” Pollack said. "Any final decision on football is still down the road for me.” In OSU's statement, Woods' family conveyed their gratitude for the show of support they have received since the injury. His family also requested future inquiries regarding Woods' recovery be directed to OSU officials.
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