Heller on crutches after surgery on Achilles tendon

Sen. Dean Heller has been on crutches and using a wheelchair after surgery last week to repair an Achilles tendon.

Heller, 52, had surgery on his lower left leg April 17 at Georgetown University Hospital. He returned to the Senate that afternoon to cast votes.

The Nevada Republican said he was looking at a six-month recovery period then will need surgery on his right Achilles tendon as well. He said both were found to have degenerated.

The Achilles tendon is the fiber behind the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel. It is best known for when famous athletes rupture theirs, like Kobe Bryant did most recently.

Heller was seen Thursday morning entering a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on crutches, his left foot wrapped in bandage. An aide had a wheelchair ready for him outside the hearing room.

Heller attributed the tendon problem to aging, wear and tear.

"Fifty years of basketball didn't help," he said.