Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng Shows Signs Of Improvement After Car Crash

Cheng still in coma but responds to reflex tests.

Doctors treating Deftones bassist Chi Cheng — who suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident that happened in Santa Clara, California, last week — say they’re hopeful the musician will make a full recovery and be back onstage in the not-too-distant future.

According to updates posted to the band’s studio blog, the 38-year-old Cheng, who has been in a coma since the crash, has been making progress toward recovery. “This Sunday saw the first signs of your prayers in action,” reads one of the most recent posts. “Chi was able to hear and respond to his father’s request to move his lower lip. His father also administered a tendon reflex test, of which both legs responded with movement. Doctors continue to remain optimistic, and the energy at the hospital remains very positive.”

Cheng, who remains in serious but stable condition in a Northern California hospital, was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, although that information has not been confirmed. According to reports, Cheng was returning from his brother’s memorial service when the crash occurred. Authorities have yet to release additional information regarding the crash or Cheng’s injuries.

One post suggests his condition could have been worse, had it not been for three men who happened to be driving by. “The family would also like to send a special thank you out to the three off-duty EMTs that stopped shortly after the accident and saved Chi’s life,” the post reads. “It was by the Grace of God that these three individuals happened to be traveling on the road with medical gear in tow at the time of the accident. If not for them, the chances of Chi making it to the hospital alive would have been poor.”

In a separate post, Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham wrote, “The neurosurgeon treating Chi says the first 72 hours are critical, and as of now, he is fighting the good fight and the doctors remain optimistic. We are seeing your prayers in action. The family asks that all the prayer warriors out there continue to pray for Chi, and keep sending out your positive energy.”

Cheng’s mother, Jeanne, also released a statement through the band’s MySpace page, saying that, while a tough recovery is expected, “Chi will be playing his bass again. I’ve been reading your e-mails to him. You are so wonderful. My heart aches with love for you. We are all connected.”

There’s no word yet on how Cheng’s recovery will impact the band’s forthcoming LP Eros, which was being eyed for release this spring.

Cheng’s family has also asked that fans reach out to the homeless, which was something the bassist — who released a spoken-word album called The Bamboo Parachute in 2000 — tried to do as often as he could.

“In the past, when Chi was not on tour, he would gather a few instruments together once a week and meet the homeless kids in the park to play music with them,” reads a statement from the family. “Today, we ask you to give a homeless person a blanket, some warm clothes or some food. If you don’t see a homeless person, reach out to a child near or far, and show some kindness to them. Keep sending your good thoughts and prayers; they are keeping him with us, and he is improving daily.”