A doctor's scheduling conflict forced postponement of Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman's knee surgery from this morning to Friday in Houston, the club and the player confirmed.

Underscoring that no medical intrigue factored in the delay, Berkman said consulting orthopedic Dr. Tom Clanton was unable to travel from Colorado to Houston in time for the scheduled procedure. Berkman requested that the surgery be delayed until the former Rice University and Houston Texans orthopedic could attend.

Orthopedic Dr. Mark Adickes will perform an arthroscopic procedure expected to take 45-90 minutes, depending on what's involved.

Berkman cited the "potential complexities" of a procedure that could involve removal of the anterior cruciate ligament from his right knee as factoring in his decision to involve Clanton.

The Houston resident initially scheduled his surgery for Friday in Vail, CO because of Clanton.

Clanton is famiilar with Berkman's orthopedic history, which includes four knee surgeries, among them an ACL replacement in November 2004.

Berkman consulted with Adickes on Wednesday and decided upon having tissue from a cadaver rather than his own hamstring used as a surrogate should doctors decide to remove the ACL. Part of Berkman's patellar tendon was used in the earlier procedure. Cadaver tissue is recommeded to athletes because it is considered more durable than hamstring.

Berkman added that Friday's procedure could be only the first in a two-step process should Adickes and Clanton determine the ACL is badly compromised. Because holes were drilled in his knee to facilitate the '04 surgery, doctors may allow two months for the bone to heal after Friday's surgery before grafting new tissue.

"It really wouldn't affect anything, since I wouldn't be playing again this year. But it would mean another procedure," Berkman explained.

The best hope is that doctors need only to shave torn meniscus and other damaged cartilage from the knee, leaving the Big Puma a recovery of weeks rather than months. However, Berkman and those who have examimed him believe a significant chance exists that the ACL is stretched so badly that it no longer offers sufficient stability to the knee.

The All-sSar first baseman suffered his latest injury Saturday in Los Angeles while extending for a throw from shortstop Rafael Furcal. Dodgers team doctors examined Berkman, who then underwent a magnetic resonance imaging in St. Louis on Monday. He consulted with Adickes on Wednesday and surgery scheduled.