Tiger Woods could be out of action for as little as three months after undergoing a knee reconstruction.
Woods revealed yesterday he needs surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, just days after returning to action after an earlier operation to win his 14th major title, the US Open, in a play-off.
Reports have suggested Woods will be out until next season, but Simon Moyes, one of the UK’s leading orthopaedic surgeons, believes he could be back in action much sooner than some forecasts.
Moyes, who works from the Wellington Hospital, said: “I personally believe that playing in the US Open would only have made his condition marginally worse. However, I am impressed he could play in his condition.
“It just demonstrates the exceptional athlete that he is.
“Once he has had his operation, I would expect him to be out of action for three months.”
That prognosis might come as a surprise to England striker Michael Owen, who was sidelined for 10 months after rupturing the same ligament at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
However, Owen required two operations, the first to repair his cartilage, at the Denver clinic of renowned knee specialist Richard Steadman.
He finally returned to action in April last year after a gruelling period of rehabilitation with Steadman insisting his knee would be as good as new, and it has not let him down since.
Woods triumphed at Torrey Pines despite a double stress fracture of the tibia in the same leg and later admitted he might have taken better notice of the advice from his doctors.
It later emerged that the suggested rehabilitation programme began with three weeks on crutches and a further three weeks’ rest.