Bills TE Everett continues to improve

Sep 17, 2007 - 8:07 PM ORCHARD PARK, New York (Ticker) -- Buffalo Bills backup tight end Kevin Everett continues to show signs of neurological improvement eight days after suffering what had been described as a "catastrophic" neck injury.

Bills medical director Dr. John Marzo issued a statement Monday afternoon updating the status of Everett, who underwent emergency neck surgery September 9 following the team's season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos.

"Kevin Everett remains medically stable in the intensive care unit, and continues to make daily improvement in his neurological status," Marzo said. "When examined Sunday evening by orthopedic surgeon Andrew Cappuccino, Kevin demonstrated increased strength in the muscles of his legs.

"In addition, he was able to show some movement in both hands. Supportive care continues for vital body systems while Kevin begins to focus on his neurological and musculoskeletal rehabilitation."

The 25-year-old Everett underwent a four-hour operation at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital after colliding with Broncos returner Domenik Hixon on the second-half kickoff.

It appeared to be a freak injury for Everett, who slammed into Hixon as the return man hit the wedge and broke his tackle. Everett immediately fell to the turf and appeared to lose consciousness.

During the extensive surgery, Cappuccino repaired a break between the third and fourth vertebrae and also alleviated the pressure on the spinal cord.

To reconfigure Everett's spine, doctors also made a bone graft and inserted a cage and a plate, held in by four screws, and inserted two small rods that are held in place by another four screws.

At a news conference last Wednesday, Dr. Kevin J. Gibbons, who was part of the team that performed the surgery, said the medical team was "very pleased" with the progress Everett has made so far.

Asked if he felt Everett would walk again, Gibbons was optimistic.

"I would not bet against it, but he has a long way to go," he said Wednesday. "He understands what happened to him, he realizes in some part what lies ahead."

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