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Article updated: 2/17/2012 4:11 PM

Doctor: Kirk is walking

By Mike Riopell

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's rehabilitation doctor said that the Highland Park Republican has begun walking on a treadmill.

"Sen. Kirk is adapting well to the rehabilitation program," Dr. Richard L. Harvey, medical director of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Center for Stroke Rehabilitation, said Friday in a statement. "This week he started walking exercises on a treadmill and is performing an increasing number of routine tasks independently. We are pleased with his progress."

Kirk is recovering from a stroke he suffered Jan. 21.

He underwent multiple surgeries at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, first to remove a portion of his skull and other tissue to relieve pressure from swelling in his brain, then later to replace the skull segment.

Last week, he was transferred out of Northwestern Memorial Hospital to begin rehabilitation.

Kirk, 52, is a U.S. Navy reservist serving his first term in the Senate, having been elected in 2010. Previously, he served 10 years in the House.

While he recovers, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat, has met with Kirk's staff and worked on some of his priorities.

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