HOUSTON (AP) _ Sheryl Swoopes of the Houston Comets, the WNBA's MVP last season, underwent surgery to repair a torn cruciate ligament in her left knee Tuesday and is expected to return for the 2002 season.

Team physician Dr.Walter Lowe performed the two-hour surgery and expected a full recovery.

``From a performance standpoint, down the line, I expect her to look like the Sheryl of before,'' Lowe said. ``When you look at her in a year, she'll be 90 to 95 percent back. It takes two years before she'll look like her old self.''

Prior to the surgery, Lowe thought he would have to repair bone around the injured area. As it turned out, that part wasn't necessary.

``It couldn't have gone any better except for the bone injury and that was not as bad as we thought and that was good,'' Lowe said.

Swoopes, who led the Comets to their fourth consecutive WNBA title last season, was injured during a workout April 23. Besides the anterior cruciate ligament, she also damaged the lateral meniscus.

Swoopes was coming off her best season in four years with the Comets.

Swoopes was the league's MVP last year and was also named defensive player of the year. She led the WNBA in scoring with 20.7 points and led the league with 2.8 steals per game. She was eighth with 3.8 assists and ninth with 1.06 blocked shots.

Swoopes won't be the only familiar face missing this season for the Comets. Former league MVP and leading scorer Cynthia Cooper retired and now is coach Phoenix.

Monica Lamb, another fixture throughout the Comets' championship years, announced her retirement on Monday.

Lowe said Swoopes' rehabilitation would begin immediately with progressive bending on the knee.