INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Indianapolis Colts fullback Craig Heyward is recovering in Methodist Hospital following brain surgery in which doctors attempted to remove a benign tumor from the base of his skull.

Doctors began operating about 8 a.m. Thursday and did not finish their work on Heyward until 9:30 p.m. _ after about 13 1/2 hours, Methodist Hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Farley said.

``Everything went smoothly. Craig is in recovery,'' she said.

Farley said she did not know if neurosurgeon Troy Payner was able to remove the tumor, and she did not know Heyward's condition.

Heyward's agent, Jack Mills, did not return phone calls Thursday night.

The tumor was detected by doctors after Heyward, 32, complained of blurred vision in his right eye. He underwent an MRI and CAT scan, and tests showed the tumor was pressing on the optic nerve.

Heyward, who is in his 11th NFL season, joined the Colts last month in an effort to help turn their season around. Those efforts ended when doctors discovered the small growth last week.

As Heyward was undergoing surgery, his well-being was on the minds of his Colts teammates, who practiced Thursday at the team's complex to prepare for Sunday's game with the New York Jets.

``You have to go on, but we are very concerned,'' tight end Ken Dilger said. ``We're all thinking about him and hoping for the best. Something like this makes you realize there are things much more important than football.''