Doctor: Stoudemire surgery a 'best-case scenario'

Updated: October 12, 2005, 8:32 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Amare Stoudemire

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 pretty good."

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.' "

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press