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NASCAR's Denny Hamlin finally has knee surgery after victory

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin had successful surgery on his left knee in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday, a procedure delayed two days by a Sprint Cup Series race in Martinsville, Va., that Hamlin won Monday.

Hamlin His team, Joe Gibbs Racing, said Hamlin underwent a successful repair of the knee's anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that Hamlin, 29, injured in January while playing basketball.

The Virginia native had planned to have the procedure Monday, but rain postponed the Martinsville race until Monday -- and therefore delayed Hamlin's surgery.

The Cup series is off Easter Sunday and Gibbs said Hamlin would immediately start rehabilitation exercises with the knee and is scheduled to drive in the next race April 10 at Phoenix International Raceway.

"The doctors tell us it will improve with each passing week and that he cannot damage it by driving," team president J.D. Gibbs said in a statement. "We expect him to be in the car in Phoenix, but we're fortunate to have [driver] Casey Mears standing by in case he would need to come out of the car for any reason."

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Denny Hamlin, right, shakes the hand of teammate Joey Logano after Hamlin won the rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., on Monday. Credit: Don Petersen / Associated Press

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