The Movistar rider who won of the Giro d'Italia in May sustained a displaced fracture of his right scapula 25km into stage 11 which was his second crash in as many days. Quintana had lost the race lead on the previous day's time trial when he crashed while cornering and flipped over his handlebars.
The team's doctor Alfredo Zúñiga and the orthopaedic surgeon Jesús Alfaro from Pamplona's Clínica San Miguel addressed the media and explained the expected recovery process post-surgery.
"Nairo's injury is a drill-hole fracture of the coracoid process", said Alfaro. "This kind of fracture is really rare; they affect various sportsmen but are just 1% of all fractures in sport, 10% out of the scapula ones."
While surgery is not always necessary for this injury, Alfaro added that an operation would be beneficial for the Colombian.
"The coracoid process can be treated without any operation, but I decided to have him undergo surgery because, as shown on the scanner image, the fracture extends like the tail of a mouse to the scapula — we fixed it with two screws," he said. "He has many abrasions all over his body due to the crash, especially in the back side of his shoulder.
"When he first came here he was hurting in his hip and shoulder, but there were no other injuries on his bone tissue, and actually, he really improved from yesterday to today."
Quintana is expected to keep his arm in a sling for between two-to-three weeks but won't be able to race for six-to-eight weeks, ruling him out of any remaining races in 2014.
"He could be getting on his bike fast, in two to four weeks, and after 6-8 weeks, he could start competing," Alfaro explained of the recovery. "All of that, with no complications in these 48 hours after surgery with infections or any acute pain. Nairo showed humble, calm and didn't complain about anything; it was all easy with him, he's a charming kid."
While the team lamented the loss of its leader for the Spanish grand tour, Zúñiga explained that Quintana, the optimist, was not dwelling on his abandonment.
"It's a big blow for all of us," Zúñiga said of the crash that ended the race for Quintana. "The team had planned this Vuelta thoroughly, excited about the challenge — we relied on him, we knew he was going to be up-front. It's just bad luck, and something we unfortunately come across in cycling very often.
"The important thing is finding a quick solution to this, keeping Nairo calm and recovering him with help by the doctors. Fortunately, he focuses on every adversity he finds in life in an optimistic way; he was already smiling yesterday, feeling in pain but committed to recover well."