TUCSON, Ariz. — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was reportedly able to stand with some help and look out her hospital window Wednesday, marking another milestone in her recovery as the congresswoman's family made plans to move her from the hospital and into a Texas rehabilitation center.
KVOA in Tucson first reported the news about Giffords standing up. Earlier, in a statement released by Giffords' congressional office, Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, said his wife will be moved — likely Friday barring medical issues — to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston. Doctors say the exact timing of the move will depend on Giffords' health.
Kelly, who has been married to Giffords for three years, lives in Houston.
Giffords was gravely wounded by a gunshot to the forehead on Jan. 8 as she was meeting with constituents outside a grocery store in Tucson. The gunman shot 18 other people, killing six and wounding 12 more.
"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting. The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase," Kelly said.
"Their goal — and our goal — has been to provide Gabby with the best care possible. It is for that reason that we have chosen to have her undergo rehabilitation at TIRR Memorial Hermann, which has a national reputation for treating serious penetrating brain injuries and is also in a community where I have family and a strong support network."
Kelly is scheduled to command NASA's last space shuttle flight in April, but that's uncertain now. He has been a constant presence at Giffords' bedside since rushing to Tucson after first getting word of the attack.Video: Giffords’ big step on road to recovery (on this page)
Since then, she has been at University Medical Center in Tucson, where her condition has improved almost daily, doctors have said.
"The congresswoman's family wants to ensure she receives the best rehabilitative care possible for her type of serious penetrating brain injury," said Dr. Michael Lemole, one of the congresswoman's neurosurgeons. "As a result, they considered facilities around the country, including rehabilitation hospitals in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago and Houston."
Dr. Jonathan Fellus, director of the brain injury program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J., said it's not surprising that Giffords could enter rehabilitation as early as two weeks after the injury.Slideshow: Former Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (on this page)
"It's not unusual as long as she's been medically and neurologically stabilized," he said. "The sooner the better."
Earlier, in an e-mail to friends and family, Giffords' mother said that the congresswoman has started to look at get-well cards and scrolled through photos on her husband's iPhone, the New York Times reported.Story: Giffords to relearn basic skills in Houston rehab
"Everyday Gabby improves and shows higher levels of comprehension and complex actions," the newspaper quoted a message sent Tuesday morning as saying.
Kelly said Tuesday that the congresswoman isn't aware that six people died in the Jan. 8 shooting, including Gabe Zimmerman, one of her staff members.
Authorities say Giffords was targeted by a 22-year-old constituent who had met her at a similar event in 2007.
The shooting suspect, Jared Loughner, remains in a federal jail in Phoenix. His motive is unknown.
The e-mail sent by Giffords' mother said doctors were "having her move limbs on command," the Times reported.
"So now comes the 'true grit' part... and won't be a stroll in a park although Mark predicts she'll be up and walking around in 2 weeks," her mother wrote.
The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.