Officer Joseph Glovacz narrowly escaped death Wednesday at the hands of an enraged motorist.

To get through the long road to recovery - which will include multiple major surgeries - he'll have to rely on faith and the prayers of those closest to him, his commander said yesterday.

"We're trying to pray our way through this, and he's trying to hope for the best," said Capt. Lou Campione, head of the 26th Police District.

Glovacz has spent his entire 11-year career in the 26th, headquartered at Girard and Montgomery avenues in Fishtown.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Wednesday, Glovacz, a veteran plainclothes cop, responded to a call from other officers who were chasing a robbery suspect.

When the cops finally apprehended the suspect at Orianna and Wildey streets, in Northern Liberties, his brother, who was seething in a car nearby, shouted, "You're not going to take my brother to jail!" and sped towards the officers, police said.

Glovacz's right leg was mangled when he was crushed by the car, and he was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital in critical condition.

Another cop, Officer Joe Goodwin, received bruises and a sprained wrist and hand, Campione said. Police officials still have yet to identify either of the suspects involved in the incident.

By yesterday afternoon, Glovacz's condition had stabilized, though he was still in intensive care.

Doctors managed to save his leg, but they haven't ruled out the possibility that he could still lose it, Campione said.

"He's still facing major surgeries," Campione said.

"It's going to be a long, tough road to recovery."

Campione said Glovacz's family, including his wife, 13-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter, are "being tremendously strong for him. They're praying for a quick recovery."

The captain praised Glovacz as an "outstanding, mission-focused officer who's there for everybody.

"It was very disturbing to see what happened to him." *