Soccer: Doctor says Beckham recovering well after surgery
TURKU, Finland — David Beckham is recovering well from surgery on his left Achilles' tendon and will start to walk on crutches in his first rehabilitation exercises today.
The tendon was totally torn, and orthopedic surgeon Sakari Orava said the 34-year-old Beckham is expected to be out of action for about six months.
Orava told The Associated Press that Beckham was in "some pain" after Monday's surgery but was doing well.
"These walking exercises are the first day's program after surgery," Orava said Tuesday. "After that, he will get a detailed program for further rehabilitation. And then, (Wednesday) probably, he flies to London, and then to the U.S."
Beckham, who was injured in the closing minutes of AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo Verona on Sunday, is expected to miss the World Cup in South Africa in June. He was on his second loan to the Italian club from Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.
Orava said Monday that he Beckham would have to take it "very easy" for up to a month. Orava also said it would be "four months to running" and another two months before the former England captain was likely to be back playing.
Beckham's spokesman, Simon Oliveira, said the tendon was completely repaired, and he expected the midfielder to play again.
"David is expected to make a full recovery," Oliveira said.
He told the AP that Beckham's wife, Victoria Beckham, was expected Tuesday in Turku.
"Of course, she is coming," Oliveira said. "She is his wife and wants to be there."
A statement from AC Milan said Beckham will remain under observation for a few days.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a get-well message to Beckham and praised his role as an ambassador for his sport, according to Brown's spokesman, Simon Lewis.
"He emphasized what a tremendous ambassador Mr. Beckham is for English soccer and wishes him well in his recovery, as I think the whole nation does," Lewis said.
The injury shattered Beckham's hopes of becoming the first English player to appear in four World Cups and put his future on the national team in doubt. He will miss most of the MLS season with the Galaxy.
"Injuries are an unfortunate part of our game and they are even more disappointing when they happen to a player who was so close to realizing his dream of representing his nation at this summer's World Cup," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Monday. "David remains an important player for the Galaxy and we look forward to welcoming him back to the club and assisting him in his recovery."
With only a few minutes remaining in the Chievo game and the score 0-0, Beckham was by himself in the center circle when he took a pass with his left foot, stepped back awkwardly, then stepped forward and started hopping on his right foot with an expression of pain on his face.
Visibly in pain and in tears, Beckham went to the touchline for medical attention.
While Beckham has not been a recent starter for England, he was likely to make the World Cup squad. Beckham was still prized for his free kicks and crosses, especially when England needed second-half goals.
And for many, he is the best-known soccer player in the world, a fashion icon with a celebrity wife, who is a former Spice Girls singer.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star has made 115 international appearances, second in England history behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125 from 1970-90.
Beckham is the MLS' highest-paid player with a $32.5 million, five-year contract — and its biggest draw.