Bills' Everett shows more progress in recovery

HOUSTON -- Kevin Everett has developed enough strength to hold himself up briefly on a walker, and he can also use his feet to push himself around in a wheelchair, the latest signs of progress as the Buffalo Bills' tight end recovers from a severe spinal cord injury.

"He's making very solid and noticeable progress," Eric Armstead, an associate of the player's agent, Brian Overstreet, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He's very excited."

Armstead regularly visits Everett, who entered the second phase of his recovery process three weeks ago when he was transferred to Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital rehabilitation center.

Armstead is most impressed by how Everett has been able to maneuver himself in a wheelchair.

"He can go from point A to B on his feet in a wheelchair. He can go as far as he wants to go," Armstead said, noting he's watched Everett wheel himself to the elevator and head outside. "He's showing great movement in his legs."

Everett was injured making a tackle in the Bills' season opener against Denver on Sept. 9. He arrived at Buffalo's Millard Fillmore Hospital paralyzed from the neck down, and doctors initially feared he'd never walk again.

The prognosis changed a few days later when Everett began showing voluntary movement -- first in his legs and then his hands.

Armstead said Everett is now able to open and close both hands, another significant step after he showed only slight movement in his fingers while spending the first two weeks of his recovery in Buffalo.

There's still no timetable as to when Everett will be released from hospital and continue his rehab as an outpatient. Everett currently spends about four to five hours a day in physical and occupational therapy sessions.

Everett was transferred to Houston because doctors felt it was important for him to be close to his family and friends. The player makes his offseason home in Houston and grew up in nearby Port Arthur, Texas.

Everett was visited by several Bills teammates during Buffalo's bye weekend last week. Former teammates, including cornerback Nate Clements, who's in his first year with San Francisco, have also paid visits.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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