Kevin Everett might walk again after all.
The doctor who performed the spinal surgery on Everett told Buffalo TV station WIVB on Tuesday that Everett has voluntary movement of his arms and legs and as a result he is optimistic that Everett will walk again.
Dr. Andrew Cappuccino told WIVB that Everett's sedation levels were lowered on Tuesday, allowing him to respond to verbal commands. WIVB also reported that Everett's latest MRI shows only a small amount of swelling on his spinal cord.
On Monday, Cappuccino said that Everett sustained a "catastrophic" and life-threatening spinal-cord injury and was unlikely to walk again.
"A best-case scenario is full recovery, but not likely," Cappuccino said Monday. "I believe there will be some permanent neurologic deficit."
Everett was hurt Sunday after he ducked his head while tackling the Denver Broncos' Domenik Hixon during the second-half kickoff. Everett dropped face-first to the ground after his helmet hit Hixon high on the left shoulder and side of the helmet.
On Monday, Cappuccino noted the 25-year-old reserve tight end did have touch sensation throughout his body and also showed signs of movement. But he cautioned that Everett's injury was life-threatening because he was still susceptible to blood clots, infection and breathing failure.
Everett is in the intensive care unit of Buffalo's Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital, where he is under sedation and breathing through a respirator as doctors wait for the swelling to lessen.
Cappuccino repaired a break between the third and fourth vertebrae and also alleviated the pressure on the spinal cord. In reconstructing his spine, doctors made a bone graft and inserted a plate, held in by four screws, and also inserted two small rods, held in place by another four screws.
Doctors, however, weren't able to repair all the damage.
Bills punter Brian Moorman immediately feared the worst when Everett showed no signs of movement as he was placed on a backboard and, with his head and body immobilized, carefully loaded into an ambulance.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Moorman said after practice. He said the sight of Everett's motionless body brought back memories of Mike Utley, the former Detroit Lions guard, who was paralyzed below the chest after injuring his neck in a collision during a 1991 game.
Utley, Moorman recalled, at least was able to give what's become a famous "thumbs up" sign as he was taken off the field. Everett didn't.
"That's what I was waiting for, and that's what everybody else was waiting for," Moorman said. "And to have to walk back to the sideline and not see that made for a tough time."
Utley, who lives in Washington state, was saddened to see replays of Everett's collision.
"I'm sorry this young man got hurt," Utley said. "It wasn't a cheap shot. It was a great form tackle and that's it."
Cappuccino received permission to operate from Everett's mother, Patricia Dugas, who spoke by phone from her home in Houston. She and other family members arrived in Buffalo on Monday. Everett was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and played high school football there.
Buffalo's 2005 third-round draft pick out of Miami, Everett missed his rookie season because of a knee injury. He spent most of last year playing special teams. He was hoping to make an impact as a receiver.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.