There is substantial interpatient variation in recovery from upper limb impairment after stroke in patients with severe initial impairment. Defining recovery as a change in the upper limb Fugl-Meyer score (ΔFM), we predicted ΔFM with its conditional expectation (i.e., posterior mean) given upper limb Fugl-Meyer initial impairment (FMii) and a putative functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) recovery measure. Patients with first time, ischemic stroke were imaged at 2.5 ± 2.2 days poststroke with 1.5-T fMRI during a hand closure task alternating with rest (fundamental frequency = 0.025 Hz, scan duration = 172 s). Confirming a previous finding, we observed that the prediction of ΔFM by FMii alone is good in patients with nonsevere initial hemiparesis but is not good in patients with severe initial hemiparesis (96% and 16% of the total sum of squares of ΔFM explained, respectively). In patients with severe initial hemiparesis, prediction of ΔFM by the combination of FMii and the putative fMRI recovery measure nonsignificantly increased predictive explanation from 16% to 47% of the total sum of squares of ΔFM explained. The implications of this preliminary negative result are discussed. © 2011 The Author.