TURKU, Finland -- David Beckham was walking on crutches a day after surgery, joined by his wife in Finland and beginning a rehabilitation in which he is expected to play soccer again in six months.
"I'm feeling positive and now concentrating on getting back to full fitness over the coming months," Beckham said in a statement Tuesday.
Dr. Sakari Orava told The Associated Press that Beckham is feeling fine and will spend another night at the clinic in western Finland. His medical team is drawing up a rehab program for the 34-year-old player following Monday's operation to repair a totally torn left Achilles tendon.
"These walking exercises are the first day's program after surgery," Orava said. "After that he will get a detailed program for further rehabilitation, and then, [Wednesday] probably, he flies to London, and then to the U.S."
His wife, Victoria Beckham, arrived in a private jet at a snowy Turku airport on Tuesday. The former Spice Girls singer was taken to the clinic in a Volkswagen van with tinted windows.
Beckham's spokesman, Simon Oliveira, said the tendon was completely repaired, and he expected Beckham to play again.
"David is expected to make a full recovery," Oliveira said.
The former England captain was injured in the closing minutes of AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo Verona on Sunday. He was on his second loan to the Italian club from Major League Soccer's Lox Angeles Galaxy.
AC Milan said Beckham would begin rehabilitation right away. He is not to put weight on his injured foot for two weeks and can undergo physical therapy in a pool after six weeks.
"The plan includes a complete recovery in six months, at the end of which he can play again," the club said in a statement on Tuesday.
Orava said Beckham planned to spend the night at the clinic and likely will leave Finland on Tuesday.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown sent a get-well message to Beckham and praised his role as an ambassador for his sport.
"He emphasized what a tremendous ambassador Mr. Beckham is for English soccer and wishes him well in his recovery, as I think the whole nation does," Brown's spokesman, Simon Lewis, said.
Using crutches, Beckham hobbled out of a private jet at Turku airport in southwestern Finland and left in a Mercedes. Just minutes later, he arrived at the clinic surrounded by security guards amid cheers from hundreds of fans who had gathered outside the entrance.
"I am upset but [want] to thank everyone for their messages of support," Beckham said in a statement posted on his personal Web site before his arrival. "I hope to make a swift and full recovery."
The injury shattered Beckham's hopes of becoming the first English player to appear in four World Cups and put his future on the national team in doubt. He will miss most of the MLS season.
"Injuries are an unfortunate part of our game and they are even more disappointing when they happen to a player who was so close to realizing his dream of representing his nation at this summer's World Cup," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Monday. "David remains an important player for the Galaxy and we look forward to welcoming him back to the club and assisting him in his recovery."
The projected timetable has Beckham returning to play after Los Angeles' Sept. 11 home game against Columbus, in time for the Sept. 18 home match against D.C. United.
The Galaxy host New York on Sept. 24, are the road team against local rival Chivas USA on Oct. 3, then play four days later at expansion Philadelphia. The Galaxy close at home against Colorado on Oct. 16 and Dallas on Oct. 24.
Beckham had two goals and three assists in 11 regular-season matches with the Galaxy last year, his third season with the team. Los Angeles advanced to the MLS final before losing to Salt Lake on penalty kicks.
With only a few minutes remaining in the Chievo game and the score 0-0, Beckham was by himself in the center circle when he took a pass with his left foot, stepped back awkwardly, then stepped forward and started hopping on his right foot with an expression of pain on his face. He reached a hand down to his left heel, then stood up and gestured as if he was breaking a twig in half to show the AC Milan bench he knew the tendon was broken.
Visibly in pain and in tears, Beckham went to the touchline for medical attention.
Orava told the AP the tendon "was totally torn," not just a small rupture.
Milan's medical staff consulted with the Galaxy's medical team, and Milan organizing director Umberto Gandini spoke with Tim Leiweke, president of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy.
"It was the player's decision," Gandini told the AP on Monday. "It's the player who decides for his own health, and the player's decision was to go to Finland where there is a surgeon who specializes in these injuries."
While Beckham has not been a starter for England in recent matches, he was likely to make the World Cup squad. Beckham was still prized for his free kicks and crosses, especially when England needed second-half goals.
And for many, he is the best-known soccer player in the world, a fashion icon with a celebrity wife who is a former Spice Girl.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star has scored 17 goals for England and made 115 appearances, second in England history behind only goalkeeper Peter Shilton's 125 from 1970 to 1990.
Beckham was England's captain from November 2000 through the 2006 World Cup.
It was also a blow for MLS, already facing the threat of a players' strike ahead of the season opener on March 25. Beckham is the league's highest-paid player with a $32.5 million, five-year contract -- and its biggest draw.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.