December 17, 2003 07:55 AM

Ozzy Osbourne must be better after his Dec. 8 near-death experience from toppling off an all-terrain bike on his English country estate. His wife Sharon says he’s joking with his hospital nurses and even asked two for their hands in marriage, say British press reports..

Still, says the MTV matriarch, 55-year-old Ozzy may require up to six months to recover from his injuries. “But he will be back, he’s not going anywhere. He’ll be ordering everybody around, don’t worry,” Sharon Osbourne told Britain’s ITV television.

The former Black Sabbath lead singer remains in the intensive care unit of Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, west of London, where on Monday he was taken off a ventilator that assisted his breathing.

Osbourne fractured his left collarbone, eight ribs and a neck vertebra in the accident at his estate in Buckinghamshire, southern England, and had emergency surgery shortly after admission to restore the flow to a damaged blood vessel.

“He’s awake, and he’s causing havoc. He’s busy telling jokes all the time, he’s already asked two nurses to marry him,” said Sharon, 51.

She said her husband woke up a week after the accident to discover that his single “Changes,” a duet with daughter Kelly, 19, was at the top of the British charts.

“He has never had a No. 1, and for me it just goes to show how people love him … He couldn’t speak but tears were coming out,” said Sharon.

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