Zach Miller's leg snapped. That was just the start of an awful 24 hours for the Chicago Bears tight end. Fears of the devastation of his left leg injury became a gruesome reality fairly quickly. Shortly after the game, the tight end needed to have emergency surgery to save his leg - that's right, amputation was possibly on the table. The injury is almost definitely a career-ender for the consistent receiver. Obviously, the first concern for everyone is with Miller. But the NFL may also have a serious problem on its hands.

Miller's injury

The frightening injury occurred during the third quarter of Chicago's game against the New Orleans Saints.

Miller went up for a catch in the end zone, courtesy of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He made a catch over his shoulder, but came down and landed extremely awkwardly on his left leg. It became immediately clear that there was something terribly wrong. Insult was even added to injury when it was ruled that Miller lost possession, negating the touchdown.

Medical personnel was quickly upon the tight end in the end zone. After what felt like forever, they were able to load Miller onto a cart and remove him from the field. He was taken to a New Orleans hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Doctors were able to stabilize the injury and repair an artery that was damaged on the football field.

He was diagnosed with a torn popliteal artery.

Miller was forced to stay in the hospital overnight, where some Bears medical personnel remained as well. It's unclear at this point when he will be released. In all likelihood, he will never play football again, although sources have not yet ruled this as a career-ending injury.

Impact of the Miller injury

The immediate impact of Miller's injury belongs to Miller himself. It also belongs to the Bears, who are losing one of their most dependable receivers, a safety blanket as Trubisky tries to develop throughout his rookie campaign.

But the NFL is also going to feel the impact of Miller's injury for a long time.

The ongoing concussion debate led to some viewers tuning out football, perhaps for good. The league's biggest fear from a pure business perspective is the prospect of a player dying on the field. That is not what happened on Sunday, but it had the potential to be the next closest thing. Football is always going to be a contact sport, and Miller's injury may have been completely incidental, but nobody wants to watch players lose their limbs on the field anymore.