Gov. Corzine will be released from the hospital this afternoon, 18 days after he was critically injured in an auto accident, a spokesman said last night.

Corzine had predicted last week he would be out on Tuesday or Wednesday; doctors had said today would be his earliest release date.

Legislators who visited him last week marveled at his robust condition. On Saturday Corzine, who broke his left thighbone, breastbone, collarbone and 11 ribs, graduated from a walker to forearm crutches - "an amazing step for someone with his injuries," his spokesman Anthony Coley said.

Corzine will be discharged from Cooper University Hospital in Camden at 1:30 p.m. Corzine "may" address the media before heading back to Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion in Princeton, Coley said. It is still unclear when he will return to work.

"We are in no rush. The state is in very good hands with acting Gov. [Richard] Codey," Coley said.

The governor was on a ventilator for more than a week after the April 12 accident, in which his state-police-driven SUV crashed on the Garden State Parkway. Corzine was not wearing his seat belt but has not been cited. His vehicle was going 91 m.p.h. at the time of the crash.

A spokeswoman for Codey, the Senate president, said Codey was "extremely happy for both the governor and his family, that he is progressing so nicely."

Contact staff writer Jeff Shields at 610-313-8173 or jshields@phillynews.com.