Football

Bills' Kevin Everett 'not likely' to fully recover

Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett has a very slim chance of regaining full body motion, according to one of his attending orthopedic surgeons.

Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett has a very slim chance of regaining full body motion, according to one of his attending orthopedic surgeons.

"A best-case scenario is full recovery — but not likely," Dr. Andrew Cappuccino told reporters Monday.

"I believe there will be some permanent neurological paralysis. I told Kevin that the chances for a full neurologic recovery were bleak, dismal."

Asked if Everett will walk again, Cappuccino replied: "By life, I am an optimist, but, as a scientist and a clinician, I have to tell you, statistically, the chances of that occurring are very small."

Everett, 25, underwent spinal surgery after suffering a life-threatening spinal-cord injury during Buffalo's season-opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"Emergency decompressive surgery was performed Sunday night, to prevent pinching of the spinal cord," explained Bills medical director Dr. John Marzo.

Everett sustained a fracture dislocation between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae and, though the spinal cord remained intact, the cervical spine and cervical spinal cord were injured.

Cappuccino and Dr. Kevin Gibbons fused the third and fourth vertebrae together, removed bone chips, and eased pressure on the spinal cord during the four-hour procedure, which involved a bone graft and the insertion of a plate with four screws and two rods.

"I was honest with him," Cappuccino said. "And he told me, 'Do everything you can to help me.'"

Everett was hurt when he hit kick returner Domenik Hixon with his helmet during the third quarter of Buffalo's season-opening 15-14 loss to the Broncos.

"It does, to a great degree, make the game trivial," Bills head coach Dick Jauron said.

"It's probably the hardest thing I will ever have to go through as an individual, just watching him go through something like that," Bills punter Brian Moorman said. "I hope it's the last time I ever have to choke back tears on the … playing field."

'Still gravely concerned'

Everett is in intensive care at Buffalo's Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital and breathing with the aid of a respirator, but has

experienced touch sensation throughout his body and exhibited signs of movement.

Even sedated, he remains susceptible to blood clots, infection and breathing failure.

"I want to caution everyone to understand that this was early in the healing phase and this is not a prognostic indicator and this young man suffered a potentially lethal and grave injury," Cappuccino said. "So we are still gravely concerned."

"The next couple of days is going to be critical," figured Brian Overstreet, Everett's agent. "Our concern is for him to come out of this healthy and, hopefully, be able to walk again."

Everett was primarily a blocking tight end, catching two passes for four yards in 17 games since being selected by Buffalo in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft.

He suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during his first pro training camp, and was used sparingly last season because of a lingering groin injury.

With files from the Associated Press