Oscar nominee Gary Busey apparently escaped any brain damage when he was flung from his motorcycle and struck his head against a curb, doctors who performed his 90-minute surgery said Monday.

Busey, an Academy Award nominee for his 1978 performance in "The Buddy Holly Story," was in critical condition Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, but doctors said he was stabilizing."The early indications are that he was spared brain damage," hospital spokesman Ron Wise said. "We're now cautiously optimistic about his chances of recovery."

The 44-year-old Malibu resident - an outspoken opponent of mandatory helmet laws for cyclists - was not wearing a helmet when the accident occurred Sunday morning.

Lt. Ellis Smith said Busey had just pulled out of a motorcycle repair shop on Washington Boulevard in Culver City on his Harley Davidson when he tried to make a turn and lost control.

The former college football player from Goose Creek, Texas, fell from the motorcycle and struck his head against a curb, sustaining extensive head injuries, Smith said.

Late Sunday, doctors performed a 90-minute operation to remove two blood clots lodged between his brain and his skull, Wise said, noting that there appeared to be no fracture to the skull.

Busey's personal manager, Herb Nanas, said the actor's wife, Judy, and son Jake, 17, had been maintaining a vigil at the hospital since the accident.

"We have very optimistic feelings," Nanas said. "I was there last night when the doctors were asking him to lift his legs and arms. He was responding to all the physical demands."

Busey appeared at a benefit last month in North Hollywood to raise money to hire lobbyists in Sacramento to fight mandatory helmet laws.

The California Motorcyclist Association, which sponsored the North Hollywood event, argues that untrained and unlicensed riders are a greater danger than riders without helmets.

Busey earned the Academy Award nomination with his first feature film portraying the ill-fated 1950s rock 'n' roll star in the 1978 movie "The Buddy Holly Story." Busey, a one-time aspiring rock musician himself, performed his own renditions of Holly's hit songs in the film.

He also starred last week on HBO as an American journalist in "A Dangerous Life," a miniseries about the revolution in the Philippines.