PHILADELPHIA - Things continued to go as well as can be expected for Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard on Wednesday.

The Phillies first baseman underwent successful surgery on his left knee at Rothman Institute in Philadelphia.

The Phillies placed Howard on the disabled list last Saturday. He was diagnosed with a torn meniscus after an MRI on Monday.

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Phillies doctor Michael Ciccotti performed what was described as a debridement of Howard's meniscus. That means Ciccotti just removed the damaged part of the meniscus.

"It went really well," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before the Phillies played the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Amaro said Howard's knee is in better shape than the club thought. There were concerns that there were signs of arthritis in Howard's knee after the MRI, but the surgery revealed those weren't much of a concern. Amaro noted that MRIs can only reveal so much.

"I think the player is feeling better about it," Amaro said. "We're feeling better about it. As this news goes, it's as good as it gets."

Howard should start a rehabilitation program today, according to Amaro. He is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

Howard is tied for second on the team in home runs with 11 and second in RBIs with 43.

His injury came when the Phillies are playing their best baseball of the season.

The Phillies (45-46) headed into Wednesday night's game having won three straight and four of their last five games. They began the night seven games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East and 5 games out of the second wild-card spot.

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