LAS VEGAS (AP) – The future of the famed Siegfried & Roy show was in doubt Sunday with illusionist Roy Horn still in critical condition after a tiger mauling. Employees of the show were encouraged to look for other jobs.

MGM Mirage officials said Sunday that Horn remained on a ventilator but was able to communicate with doctors. Even if he recovers, they said, it’s unclear whether he would ever be able to perform again in the rigorous show.

Horn, who was bitten in the neck and dragged off stage by one of the show’s signature white tigers, underwent surgery late Friday and Saturday at University Medical Center. Mirage officials said it might take another day or two before doctors have a prognosis.

It was a good sign that Horn’s condition had not changed since he last underwent surgery, the duo’s longtime manager, Bernie Yuman, said Sunday afternoon during a news conference.

“The doctors are cautiously optimistic,” Yuman said. “The doctors are telling us that the more time that passes, the better we are. Every day that passes we are going to be in better shape.”

Horn, 59, was heavily sedated but able to respond to voices and touch, MGM Mirage Resort chief executive Bobby Baldwin said.

“We are guarded, optimistic,” Baldwin said late Saturday night outside the hospital. “We are pleased the news isn’t worse than it is.”

It was halfway during a Friday night performance at The Mirage hotel-casino that Horn appeared alone on stage with a 7-year-old, 600-pound white tiger named Montecore.

Horn told the tiger to lie down. When it refused, Horn tapped the cat on the nose with a microphone to get its attention. The animal grabbed at Horn’s arm, causing the entertainer to stumble.

The tiger then lunged at Horn, who tried to beat the animal away with the microphone. Audience members said the tiger dragged Horn off the stage by the neck. The attack barely missed severing Horn’s carotid artery.

Horn and longtime partner Siegfried Fischbacher have been a Las Vegas Strip staple for years, performing their magic show to sold-out crowds. The shows, with their white tigers and lions, are among the best known and most expensive on the Strip.

“For more than four decades, I have had the great privilege of standing at the side of this remarkable man, and I will continue to do so during this very challenging time,” Fischbacher said in a statement Saturday.

Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman said late Saturday the show was closed indefinitely. He said 267 show employees met at the Mirage hotel-casino, where hotel managers encouraged them to find new jobs.

Montecore was quarantined at the hotel, officials said. Feldman said the animal had been used in the show for several years.

Siegfried and Roy signed a lifetime contract with The Mirage in 2001. The German-born pair perform six shows a week, 44 weeks per year and have been onstage in Las Vegas for more than 35 years.

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AP-ES-10-05-03 2100EDT

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