Chicago's Sharp faces fitness race after surgery

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp underwent a surgical appendectomy on Monday and could miss the start of the National Hockey League (NHL) season, the team said on Monday.

"The surgery was successful and I anticipate a full recovery in approximately three to four weeks," Terry said in a statement issued by the Blackhawks.

Should Sharp require a full four weeks to recover he would miss the team's first two games of the 2011-12 season and return for Chicago's October 13 game against Winnipeg.

The NHL season starts on October 6.

The 29-year-old All-Star, who signed a five-year contract extension last month, was eighth in NHL scoring last season with 34 goals while adding 37 assists for a career-high 71 points in 74 regular-season games.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)