DENVER, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- The Denver Nuggets, who play in the powerful NBA Western Conference, likely will not have their best player for the first three months of the season.
Forward Antonio McDyess, who earned his first All-Star appearance last season, will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a partial tear in the patella tendon in his left knee.
The club said an estimate on McDyess' rehabilitation will be determined following the surgery.
When asked when he might return, McDyess told the Denver Post on Sunday, "I really don't know to be honest. Hopefully, I will be back before February I hope. They really haven't told me when I will be back, but I am a fast healer. I look forward to being back as soon as possible."
Denver opens the regular season on October 30 at Phoenix.
Last week, the 27-year-old McDyess felt soreness in his left knee following a dunk attempt. He partially dislocated his left knee cap in a game last March 3 while leaping for a dunk.
Losing McDyess for any length of time would be a major blow for the Nuggets, who finished last season with a 40-42 record.
McDyess averaged 20.8 points and 12.1 rebounds per contest in 70 games last season. His absence would give added responsibility to swingman James Posey, who had his fourth-year contract option exercised by the team Monday.
Posey, whose original contract was to expire after the 2001-02 campaign, was the only Nugget to start and play in all 82 games last season. He averaged 8.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.