When Lance Berkman dialed manager Mike Matheny shortly after surgery Friday morning, the tone in the veteran's words revealed the condition of his right knee. "It was great to hear his voice and hear that excitement," Matheny recalled. "You can turn the page by putting different scenarios in your mind of what might happen. It is hard to turn it off. All he's thinking about now is counting down the days until he's back." During a procedure in Houston, Berkman had damage to meniscus and cartilage addressed, but the bigger result of the surgery was what didn't need repair. The anterior cruciate ligament, which Berkman feared had been compromised, was sturdy enough and the knee's stability not immediately in jeopardy, a team official said. General manager John Mozeliak described the ACL as "intact, strong. It was in good condition." Had Berkman's ligament needed repair or replacement he would have missed the remainder of the season and had to consider retirement. Instead, the team has projected a recovery of eight to 10 weeks before Berkman returns to the lineup. That timetable could be pushed back based on when Berkman is able to start a rehab schedule. The meniscus tear was removed and the cartilage tear was debrided, or cleaned, to improve healing. It's the debridement on the cartilage that will require the most time from which to recover. "I went into this optimistically, as I would normally," Mozeliak said. "You hope for the best and prepare for the worst."