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Phillies' Howard could miss start of 2012 season

Philadelphia Phillies' Howard tries to make a catch on a foul ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Holliday during their MLB Divisional Series p
Philadelphia Phillies' Howard tries to make a catch on a foul ball hit by St. Louis Cardinals' Holliday during their MLB Divisional Series p

(Reuters) - Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard could miss the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball season after undergoing surgery on his left Achilles tendon on Wednesday, the team said.

"It's going to be five to six months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a report on the team's website.

"A lot depends on how he recovers," Amaro said. "The start of the season could be impacted, but I still hope he makes his first at-bat of the season."

Howard tore the tendon while making the final out during a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the deciding game of the National League Division Series last week.

The three-time All-Star will be immobilized for about one to two weeks and could do weight bearing and strengthening in about a month depending on how his recovery goes, the team said in a statement.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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