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Clinton hospitalized with knee injury

Clinton in Wheelchair

March 14, 1997
Web posted at: 10:30 a.m. EST

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- President Clinton was to undergo surgery Friday for a torn tendon in his right knee after stumbling on steps at the home of golf pro Greg Norman, his doctors said.

Clinton was to arrive at Bethesda Naval Hospital around noon and the surgery was to be performed late Friday afternoon, doctors said. Clinton is expected to be discharged from the hospital by the end of the weekend.

"He has a tear in the quadricep tendon," said Dr. Joel Cohen, vice president of St. Mary's Hospital, where Clinton was initially taken. "It is not an uncommon injury. The repair is pretty straightforward."

"The expectation would be a return to full activities."

Dr. Joel Cohen discusses Clinton's injury
Cohen icon The injury
(14 sec./326K AIFF or WAV sound)
icon The operation
(14 sec./309K AIFF or WAV sound)
icon The rehabilitation
(18 sec./409K AIFF or WAV sound)

Doctors said the damage to Clinton's knee was substantial. The president will be in a leg brace and crutches for two to six weeks. Physical therapy will begin in three to six weeks.

Clinton tripped at 1:20 a.m. on a step at Norman's 80-acre oceanside estate. The two had chatted late into the night at Norman's home and Clinton was heading to a separate guest house, where he was to sleep.


"He remembers his right knee buckling out. He heard a very loud pop and felt some pain," said Navy. Capt. Connie Mariano, the president's personal physician.

Upon arrival at St. Mary's, the president was given an anti-inflammatory, non-narcotic pain killer called Toradol. He also underwent a magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

Clinton is due to travel to Helsinki to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin next Wednesday and Thursday. Press secretary Mary Ellen Glynn said it was unclear whether he would be able to attend the summit.

"I think it's premature but he'd love to go," Glynn said.

The president was in Hobe Sound, Florida, to play in a two-day tournament sponsored by Norman.

A local anesthetic will be used during surgery and Clinton will remain conscious. There were no plans to turn presidential powers over to Vice President Al Gore.


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