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 BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Kevin Everett could be transferred to a Houston hospital by this weekend to begin the next phase of the Buffalo Bills tight end's rehabilitation, a person close to the family told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
``That's the plan that probably by the end of the week, if progress remains the same, he'll be transferred back to Houston,'' said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of Everett's status.
The person said doctors still are making arrangements to determine which hospital would best suit Everett, who sustained the life-threatening spinal-cord injury Sept. 9 while making a tackle. The player grew up in Port Arthur, Texas, and now lives in Houston, 90 miles away.
``He's very excited,'' said the person, who added Everett is having lengthy conversations with family, friends and doctors. ``He's just happy to be breathing and able to move his limbs to some degree.''
Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Miami school of medicine, confirmed discussions to transfer Everett began Monday, when he said he got an update from Bills orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Cappuccino.
``They're talking about him going home,'' said Green, who had not spoken to Cappuccino on Tuesday after traveling most of the day.
Green added Everett continues to show significant signs of progress.
``He's sitting up and eating and doing rehab,'' Green said. ``Everything's exactly how we expected. It's very positive.''
The Bills, who have been authorized to update Everett's status, could not immediately be reached for comment. Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital spokesman Mike Hughes said he could not discuss Everett's status.
``Our hospital staff, from nurses to physicians, are working 24-7 to get Mr. Everett back to 100 percent,'' he said.
Initially fearing Everett would never walk again, doctors significantly changed their prognosis when the player moved his toes, ankles, legs and arms a week ago. By Thursday, Everett began moving his fingers.
Bills team doctor, John Marzo, announced Monday that Everett demonstrated increased strength in his leg muscles and also had shown some movement in both hands.
Green, who said he's been in daily contact with Everett's doctors, said he suggested Everett be transferred to Houston - over two other choices, Buffalo and Miami - because it's important for the player to be close to friends and family during rehab.
``The sooner they're back with friends and family, the better they are psychologically,'' said Green, co-founder of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and considered one of the leading experts in spinal-cord injuries. ``It's almost like a newborn baby. They have emotional troubles bonding. The sooner Kevin can be back with his family and friends, the better.''
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