Zack Follett hospitalized, has movement

Updated: October 17, 2010, 9:54 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After a helmet-to-helmet collision, Detroit Lions linebacker Zack Follett fell motionless to the field at the New Meadowlands Stadium. He remained still but appeared to grimace as he was strapped to a backboard and driven off the field in a motorized cart.

Follett was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for evaluation.

"Let's keep him in our prayers," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said after the 28-20 loss to the New York Giants.

"Both the MRI and CT tests performed on Zack this evening at the Hackensack Medical Center were negative," the Lions announced in a release. "Zack is resting comfortably and has feeling and movement in all of his extremities. He will continue to be monitored throughout the evening. We expect no further updates until Monday."

Bill Keenist, a Lions spokesperson, had said previously that a preliminary exam did not find evidence of a fracture to the cervical spine.

Follett will not travel back with the team, and he will stay in Hackensack overnight.

On his Twitter page, Follett said, "Thank you and much love to all you showing your support. I'm ok. Thank God."

On a kickoff return, Follett was tackled by Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who lowered his head for a helmet-to-helmet hit that caused Follett's neck to bend back. The Lions, including injured quarterback Matt Stafford, came off the bench to watch as Follett was secured to the brace. Giants fans gave him a standing ovation as he exited the stadium.

"I hope everything is OK," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I really feel bad for their team, for the player, for everyone, the family and everyone. I hope the young man is OK."

Pierre-Paul said he did not think he had used his helmet, but a replay of the tackle showed such a collision. The rookie could be fined for the tackle, even if it was unintentional.

"On special teams, everybody gets hurt," Pierre-Paul said. "It isn't like I tried to hurt him; I feel sorry for him."

Follett wasn't the only injured Lion. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill sustained a broken left arm in the game, bracing himself after being pulled down. He knew right away something was wrong.

"I thought so, I felt a pop, just obviously wanted to give myself a chance to stay in the game, test it out and stuff," Hill said. "There was going to be no way I could handle the ball."

Stafford could return from a shoulder injury to be the team's starter when the Lions come off their upcoming bye week. That was the tentative plan depending on his medical condition, but if doctors determine Hill needs more than two weeks to recover, the Lions would like to have Stafford back and healthy.

"Matt's inheriting a battle-tested team," Hill said. "This team has played an extremely tough schedule, a lot on the road. ... I know he's chomping at the bit, itching to come back."

In the meantime, however, the Lions will be hoping for the best for Follett.

"Any time they bring a backboard out for a player it's a scary situation," Schwartz said. "Our players were very concerned. I gathered them up on the sideline to let them know what we knew so far. Again, our thoughts and our prayers go out to Zack. He's a valuable member of this team. He's a favorite in our locker room, he's a favorite across the city of Detroit and rightfully so, and we'll keep him in our prayers and hope for the best."

Jane McManus is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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