Larry Bird underwent "very successful" surgery on both heels Saturday and the Boston Celtics' star should be able to return to basketball in three to four months, his surgeon said.
Dr. Arnold Scheller, who performed the 90-minute operation, said Bird would remain hospitalized for one or two days and wear fixed casts for about six weeks. He estimated that for the following six weeks Bird would wear removable casts.Then, he said, it would be up to Celtics' Coach Jimmy Rodgers to decide when Bird could play in an NBA game.
If Bird returns in four months for Boston's game with San Antonio March 20, he would be back with 19 games remaining in the regular season.
Scheller said at a news conference that his reason for changing his original estimate of a three-month rehabilitation "is the potential for rupture" of the Achilles' tendons. The tendons were cut in both heels to remove the bone spurs that were irritating them.
He said 30 percent of the surface area of the tendons was damaged in the operation, performed under general anesthesia, rather than the 40 to 50 percent he suspected Friday night.
Celtics' General Manager Jan Volk said the team had not filled Bird's roster spot.