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Brand undergoes tendon surgery

His ruptured Achilles' tendon, injured at workout, is repaired. Agent doesn't rule out a return this season.

August 08, 2007|Jaime Cárdenas | Times Staff Writer

Clippers star Elton Brand underwent successful surgery Tuesday morning to repair his ruptured left Achilles' tendon in Wilmington, Del., the team said in a statement.

The Clippers did not set a timetable for Brand's return to NBA action. The surgery was performed by Craig Morgan, who also operated on Brand in 2002 for a minor cartilage tear in his right knee.

Brand will be in a cast for six weeks, then a walking boot the next six weeks, the team said. He will remain on the East Coast for two weeks, then return to Wilmington for a follow-up examination.

The 28-year-old power forward will then return to Los Angeles to begin a conditioning and therapy program that will be monitored by the Clippers' medical and athletic training staff.

Brand, a two-time All-Star who averaged 20.5 points last season, suffered the Achilles' injury Friday during a workout.

His agent, David Falk, did not rule out Brand's return for the 2007-08 season.

"Early reports that Elton was out for the season and that he would return as early as December are completely erroneous and without factual basis," Falk said in a statement.

"His return to the Clippers will be based upon Dr. Morgan's medical evaluation."

A ruptured Achilles' tendon is not unusual for a basketball player. The Achilles' tendon is located in the back of the foot and connects the calf muscles to the heel.

Players who suffer a ruptured Achilles typically miss six months to a year's playing time.

In 1992, Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins ruptured his Achilles' tendon and missed nine months. But he returned for the start of the next season and averaged 29.9 points, second only to Michael Jordan.

Houston Rockets forward Maurice Taylor also ruptured his Achilles' tendon playing in a pick-up game in September 2001 and he missed all of the 2001-02 season. He returned for the 2002-03 season but has started only 66 games in the last five seasons.

One of the fastest recoveries was that of Denver guard Voshon Lenard. In 2004, he ruptured his Achilles' on opening night of the season and returned to play in the last two games of the regular season.

The Clippers play their final game of their 2007-08 regular season about eight months from now, on April 16 against the Rockets in Houston.

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jaime.cardenas@latimes.com

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