DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Christian Laettner, who played the last 2 1/2 seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, could face up to nine months of rehabilitation after rupturing his Achilles' tendon in a pickup basketball game at Duke last week.

The former Duke All-American returned to his Atlanta home after surgery at Duke University Medical Center last week.

Neither Laettner nor his agent, Herb Rudoy, was available for comment.

The timing of the injury is bad for Laettner, who became a free agent after playing out his contract. No free agent signings are possible until the NBA's current labor impasse is resolved.

Laettner missed eight games last season with injuries and lost his starting forward job over the final 33 games of the season. He averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in 74 games, and 9.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in four playoff games.