Detroit Pistons forward Rick Mahorn spent 3 1/2 hours in surgery having a ruptured disk removed from his back - an injury which restricted his playing time during the latter half of the recent NBA season.

"We're hoping for 100 percent recovery," Pistons team physician Dr. Ben Paolucci said late Tuesday. "Everything went as well as expected."Paolucci, however, said there is no guarantee that Mahorn, who has suffered chronic back pain since the problem first occurred during the 1986-87 season, will be able to perform like he did before the surgery.

"There's no absolute way of knowing if everything is going to be perfect until he gets into a rehabilitation program," he said.

Dr. Harry N. Herkowitz performed the operation Tuesday at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.

Paolucci said Mahorn should be released from the hospital in about three days and could begin therapy in 10 days.

"We hope in 10 to 12 weeks he'll be playing basketball," Paolucci said.

Locally . . .