Leno is operated on for burns from a car fire

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Jay Leno underwent surgery for severe burns he sustained when flames erupted while working on an antique car and remains hospitalized for further treatment, the doctor overseeing his care said Wednesday.

The former "Tonight Show" host was in good condition and his wife, Mavis, is with him at the Grossman Burn Center in north Los Angeles, said Peter H. Grossman, the center's medical director at West Hills Hospital.

"He's in a good mood today," Grossman said at a televised news conference. This past weekend, Leno suffered burns to his face, hands and chest that the plastic surgeon classified as second degree or borderline serious.

Some of the facial wounds "are a little bit deeper and a little more worrisome" because they show signs of progression to third degree, as burns can, Grossman said.

Treatment aimed at preventing burns from getting worse includes high-pressure oxygen therapy to promote healing, along with surgery in which burn wounds are cleaned and shaved, he said. A temporary "biological skin substitute" is placed over the area, she said.

Leno came out of one surgery well and a second is planned this week, Grossman said. The up and walking comedian tells jokes and is a hit with the staff, even handing out cookies to young patients.

The fire occurred in the Burbank garage where Leno keeps his famous collection of cars and other motorized vehicles. In a statement earlier this week, Leno called the burns "severe" but said he would only need "a week or two to recover."

Grossman said he appreciated Leno's enthusiasm, but warned him to be realistic.

“I had to tell him that he needs to step back a little bit and realize that some of this takes time,” he said. “He is very compliant, he understands it. I think she's realizing that maybe she needs to take it a little slower than she initially anticipated."

The doctor said he hopes Leno makes a full recovery, but it was too early to tell if there would be "remnants" of the injury. He did not elaborate.

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