SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs had surgery Wednesday on his left knee, which had sidelined him as the defending NBA championships were eliminated in the first round of this year's playoffs.
The procedure, called a partial lateral menisectomy, was deemed a success by team officials. Dr. David Schmidt, the team physician, performed the operation.
``It went great,' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, adding that after about six to eight weeks of recovery Duncan should begin returning to ``top-caliber play.'
It was not immediately known whether Duncan would be able to participate on the U.S. team in the Summer Olympics, Popovich said.
Duncan tore cartilage in his left knee on April 11 as he fell awkwardly after a dunk attempt in a game against the Sacramento Kings. He missed the final four games of the Spurs' regular season because of the injury, then missed all of San Antonio's playoff games.
The Spurs, the 1999 NBA champions, lost to Phoenix in the first playoff round this year.
Medical tests on Tuesday revealed Duncan's injury had not healed on its own.
``He wants to play whole. It killed him sitting on the bench during the playoffs,' Popovich said. ``In an odd sort of way, he's excited about it (the surgery) it's giving him some finality to this situation.'
He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks, although the exact time frame won't be known until after he begins rehabilitation, the team said.
Popovich wouldn't say how the injury and the decision to operate may affect contract negotiations with Duncan.
``We all hope he'll be in San Antonio. But the bottom line is Tim Duncan wants to win, and I think his decision will have a lot to do with that,' he said.