Dustin Johnson has surgery on right knee

Dustin Johnson (file photo)

Dustin Johnson (file photo)

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Dustin Johnson, the top-ranked American in the Official World Golf Ranking, underwent surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee on Tuesday near his home in south Florida. Johnson, who is ranked fifth in the world, is expected to return to competition in early- to mid-January, according to his manager, David Winkle of Hambric Sports, who is in Florida with Johnson.

Dr. George Caldwell, team physician for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, performed the surgery and said in a statement Johnson’s “prognosis is excellent, and we expect a quick and speedy recovery.”

Johnson, 27, has been experiencing nagging discomfort in the knee since July, and underwent an MRI upon returning to the U.S. from two weeks in Australia, where he played this month’s Australian Open and competed in the Presidents Cup. Johnson’s injury did not hinder his swing so much as it caused pain when his knee would bend at a 90-degree angle, such as when he was sitting or bending to read a putt.

Johnson, winner at The Barclays this summer, had planned to play in Tiger Woods’ Chevron World Challenge in California this week. He is expected to be on crutches 5-7 days, begin chipping and putting after that and resume normal practice in mid-December. He hopes to be ready to start the 2012 PGA Tour season in Hawaii at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

“He’s still optimistic on Kapalua,” Winkle said. “His age, his fitness and his athleticism all should help him recover quickly, and his goal is to be in Hawaii.”

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