Larry Bird underwent five hours of back fusion surgery Friday to relieve pain that forced the former Boston Celtic forward to cut short his basketball career.
"Recovery time is six to eight months," said Jim Rattray, a spokesman for New England Baptist Hospital. "After that, he should be able to return to golf and all the other recreational sports that he enjoys."
Bird's bad back forced him to retire last August after 13 years in the NBA. He sat out 37 games last season because of back problems.
Bird, 36, has a history of back troubles, including sciatica, a nerve pain connected with disk problems. In 1990, he suffered a broken bone in his back in a fall during training camp.