Surgery scheduled; Newberry out indefinitely

It's official. The 49ers went from suggesting Thursday afternoon that Jeremy Newberry might need surgery on his right knee at some point this year to saying Thursday night that he will have that operation on Tuesday, a procedure that possibly could force him to miss the rest of the 2004 season.

"He will undergo surgery Tuesday to release excess pressure from his kneecap," team doctor Michael Dillingham said in a statement released by the team Thursday night. "We cannot put a timetable on this, but we will begin rehab as soon as possible and hope to have him back sometime this season."

Newberry missed practice Thursday for the second consecutive day with pain underneath his kneecap. He had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 10 to remove cartilage from the same area.

Team doctors had been treating Newberry's right knee since the beginning of training camp in July. The pain in the knee initially subsided through rehab. But as Newberry's workload increased through practice and playing, the pain returned and became severe.

He started the season opener against Atlanta, but the knee became progressively worse. Newberry was listed as questionable on Thursday's injury report, and coach Dennis Erickson suggested there still was a chance he could suit up for Sunday's game against New Orleans. But the knee problem obviously was much more severe than Erickson was letting on at the time.

"Jeremy does not feel he can play at a high eneough level to help the team," Dillingham said.

So now, after surgery, he may not get a chance until late in the season - if he plays again in 2004 at all.

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