What appeared at the time to be a serious but routine knee injury last week for Catholic University quarterback Tony Gallis has proven to be far worse: Gallis is in the intensive care unit of Capitol Hill Hospital after a hit "literally separated the lower half of his leg from the upper half," said Peter Sauer, director of the hospital's Life Institute.

Gallis is in stable condition. "The outlook is guarded but optimistic," Sauer said.

Gallis underwent nearly nine hours of surgery last Saturday to repair the severe damage to his left leg after the injury in the game against Dickinson. "There are several more operations scheduled," Sauer said. "We're looking to the possibility of one being done this weekend to repair the ligament structure and close some of the incisions that were made to allow for drainage."

Earlier in the game, Gallis, a senior, had broken the school's career passing record for yardage and completions. In the second quarter, with his team ahead, 10-0, Gallis scrambled out of the pocket on a broken third-down play. He was running for first-down yardage when he was hit simultaneously by at least four defenders.

"It looked like a mass of humanity fell on him," Sauer said. "It was a complete dislocation of the knee. The femur was separated from the tibia. And this was all confined within the skin. It never became exposed."

Three of the four primary knee ligaments were torn. Also, there was nerve and artery damage.

"I could say that in 15 years of sports medicine, I have never seen anything like this," Sauer said. "You could accurately equate this with the injuries that you see in a motorcycle accident . . . the trauma, the shock.

"It's still too early to speculate on his prognosis. A lot is contingent upon the success of the physical therapy after the (surgical) efforts."

Catholic Coach Ro Waldron said he visited Gallis Monday and Gallis "was asking questions about the team and the game" today at Fordham.

"He's been through a lot and they don't want a lot of visitors because of that," Waldron said. "It was so severe that I understand he's under constant medication and that causes him to fade in and out. It's a real traumatic situation to go through, but I know Tony and he has a tremendous amount of courage."

When Catholic plays today, Ed Gallis, Tony's brother and a wide receiver on the team, will remain in Washington. Waldron said Ed has been at the hospital all week.