Woods has surgery on left knee for minor cartilage damage

A season that began with Tiger Woods celebrating a fifth Masters title ended with a fifth surgery on his left knee.

This one wasn’t serious.

Woods said Tuesday on Twitter he had arthroscopic surgery last week to repair what he described as minor cartilage damage. In a statement Woods released on social media, Dr. Vern Cooley said he looked at the rest of the knee and found no additional problems.

“I’m walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks,” Woods said, adding that he looked forward to travelling to Japan in October for a planned Skins Game exhibition and the ZoZo Championship on Oct. 24-27.

Mark Steinberg, his agent at Excel Sports, described the knee as little more than “irritating.”

“It was bothering him, but arthroscopic these days is different than we had years and years ago,” Steinberg said. “He’s up and walking now. This will have no effect on the fall or winter.”

Woods has a light schedule the rest of the year — Japan in late October, his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas the first week of December and then the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne in Australia. He is the U.S. captain and could play as a captain’s pick. He won’t have to make that decision until a week after the Japan event.

Woods has dealt primarily with back issues the last six years. He had the first of four back surgeries in the spring of 2014, and the last one in 2017 to fuse his lower spine when it reached a point he feared he might never compete again.

He returned a year later and capped off his comeback with a victory in the Tour Championship. The final piece was a major, and Woods delivered the most memorable week of the year in April at Augusta National when he won the Masters for his 15th major.

But that was his lone highlight.

He missed the cut in the PGA Championship and the British Open and was never a factor in the Memorial or the U.S. Open. He withdrew after the opening round of The Northern Trust to start the FedEx Cup playoffs, and he failed to reach the Tour Championship.

He said about his health at the BMW Championship that “body-wise it’s the same. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Things just pop up.”

“I’m making tweaks and changes trying to play around this back and trying to be explosive and have enough rest time and training time,” he said at Medinah. “That’s been the biggest challenge of it all.”

Woods first had surgery on his left knee as a freshman at Stanford in 1994 to remove two benign tumors and scar tissue. He had arthroscopic surgery to remove fluid and cysts after the 2002 season, and another after the 2008 Masters to repair cartilage damage. Two months later, after winning the 2008 U.S. Open, he had reconstructive surgery to repair his ACL.

Steinberg described this surgery as “more cleanup maintenance.”

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