Lamar Odom update: He continues to improve but remains in ICU

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The good news keeps on coming for Lamar Odom in his recovery. He remains in the ICU, and there are still a lot of questions ahead about his health and ability to function, but more and more it looks like he will survive this health crisis.

Here’s the latest on his condition, via E! News (part of the NBC Universal family):

E! News has exclusively learned that Odom passed a swallow test, a promising sign of neurological function and an important step because doctors took out his breathing tube and needed to ensure he could swallow on his own.

We’ve also learned that Odom was helped out of bed for the first time since being hospitalized Tuesday night. He was moved with assistance into a chair and his breathing showed no signs of distress. He continues to wear a mask to aid the flow of oxygen but he’s breathing on his own….

Overall, however, the former L.A. Lakers star is communicating mainly with hand signals, thumbs up or thumbs down. We hear he’s attempting to communicate with words but his speech is more or less limited to mumbles at this point.

Odom — who had been in a downward spiral of addiction for a few years that friends around the NBA tried but could not pull him out of — was found Tuesday passed out at a brothel outside Las Vegas, where he had been for several days reportedly doing a variety of drugs (and spending $75,000). Odom has slowly showed signs of recovery, but he remains in the ICU and there are reports that not all his organs are healing as fast as his heart, and doctors have yet to assess the level of brain damage from the stroke (or strokes) he suffered.

Odom’s estranged wife Khloe Kardashian has been by his side and is making medical decision for him.

Kim Kardashian had been to see him as well and posted this on Instagram over the weekend.