PHOENIX -- A day after Amare Stoudemire underwent surgery to
repair torn cartilage in his left knee, his doctor on Wednesday
called the operation a "best-case scenario" for the dynamic young
Phoenix Suns center.
While other players have struggled to come back at full throttle
after microfracture surgery, team doctor Thomas Carter said
Stoudemire doesn't have the same obstacles to overcome.
"The rest of the knee was absolutely normal," Carter said.
"It's a best-case scenario when you go in there and there's
nothing else wrong with the knee."
Stoudemire will be sidelined for about four months. The surgery
came just days after the 6-foot-10, 245-pound center signed a
five-year, $73 million contract extension.
Stoudemire won't be able to bear weight on the knee for four
weeks. During that time, he'll spend six to eight hours a day on a
continuous passive motion machine to speed his recovery by gently
extending and flexing the knee.
Team trainer Aaron Nelson said Stoudemire was in good spirits
when Nelson spoke to him Tuesday night.
"He's doing very well," Nelson said. "He was in a pretty good
mood. I asked if he had much pain and as of last night, no, he felt
Microfracture surgery is arthroscopic, using small puncture
wounds to insert a camera and tools into the knee. The procedure
involves drilling small holes around the torn cartilage to allow
blood and marrow to seep through, forming a clot around the tear
that eventually matures into a substitute rebuilding tissue.
However, the surgery has a hit and miss history.
Penny Hardaway, a former Suns player now with the New York
Knicks, never returned with the same explosive play after his 2000
operation. Philadelphia's Jamal Mashburn has not returned at all
after his June 2003 microfracture surgery.
Chris Webber has been slowed by his left knee, which kept him
out of much of last season following the same surgery.
But others, including Jason Kidd, have returned to a level of
play similar to what they could do before the surgery.
Carter said Stoudemire's case also has a better prognosis than
most because his tear was smaller and was in a place that's less
weight-bearing. Carter added that Stoudemire's youth also helps. He
turns 23 next month.
"We're confident we'll get him as close as we can if not better
than he was before," Nelson added. "You won't be saying, 'Gosh,
he's a different player.' "