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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Rumsfeld’s surgery successful

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld underwent successful shoulder surgery Tuesday to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Eric Ruff, the Pentagon press secretary, said Rumsfeld, 74, had the surgery on his left shoulder at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and described it as elective surgery that was scheduled weeks in advance.

Rumsfeld did not undergo general anesthesia for the arthroscopic procedure, Ruff said. Nonetheless, the defense secretary transferred to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England the responsibility for determining how to respond if a potentially hostile aircraft entered U.S. airspace.

Ruff said it was the only responsibility shifted to England and said it was expected to be returned to Rumsfeld in a short time.

After the nearly two-hour operation, Rumsfeld was resting at the hospital and was staying there overnight, Ruff said.

“He’s fine. He’s recovering,” the spokesman said, adding that he expected Rumsfeld to return to work as soon as possible, but the exact timing was uncertain.

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that help stabilize and move the shoulder.

Tears in the rotator cuff can be caused by injury or by weakening of the tendon from wear and tear. Ruff said Rumsfeld’s cuff tear was caused by “an old athletic injury.” Rumsfeld, who is right-handed, wrestled in college and is an avid squash player.