Months of Rehab Ahead for Injured NIU Linebacker

Devon Butler was shot at an off-campus event earlier this month

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    Devon Butler was shot at an off-campus event earlier this month. (Published Friday, April 22, 2011)

    The Northern Illinois University linebacker who was shot at an off-campus event earlier this month said Friday that he's got months of rehabilitation ahead of him but hasn't lost sight of the game.

    "I feel good when I wake up.  I feel good going to sleep," said Devon Butler.  "Everyday when I wake up I feel that much better, that much stronger. And it's a day-to-process."

    His remarks came during a brief visit with the media just three days after being released from the hospital.

    Butler, a junior from Pembroke Pines, Fla., was initially in critical condition after being shot at an event off-campus in DeKalb.  His condition was upgraded to "stable" three days later. 

    Butler said he's following doctors orders and working on slowly getting better.  He's moving around and doing breathing exercises 10 times each day.

    After about six months, he'll be able to begin exercising and doing physical therapy.  He said his doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

    Meanwhile, he said he's already got his whistle and will be assisting his coaches.

    "This could actually be a good opportunity for me," he said, adding that he's keeping coaching and sports broadcasting in his sights.

    He won't return to the game for a full year, he said.  His teachers, he said, are giving him flexibility with work he's missed.

    Two students, 24-year-old Mark Orozco and 20-year-old Richard Van Arsdale III, have been arrested in connection with the April 5 shooting. 

    Bond for each has been set at $1 million, reported.