Georgetown guard/forward Fred Brown underwent surgery yesterday at the university's hospital to remedy patella tendinitis in his right knee and will be unable to practice for six to eight weeks, team physician Carl MacCartee said yesterday.

That means Brown likely will miss at least seven regular-season games, including the Dec. 11 meeting with Virginia at Capital Centre.

Coach John Thompson said yesterday that Brown had some trouble with his knee at the end of last season, but had hoped it would heal over the summer.The knee began to bother Brown again recently in pickup games at school. When surgery was recommended, Brown went home to New York last weekend and got a concurring opinion. Thompson said he would be released from the hospital today.

Tendinitis usually is not nearly as serious as ligament or cartilage damage.

Brown, who played most of the last two seasons at point guard and led the team in assists, is one of only two starters returning from last year's team that gained the NCAA finals.

In the championship game, the Hoyas were driving for one last chance at victory when Brown's pass was intercepted by James Worthy, assuring North Carolina of its one-point triumph.

Thompson was counting on Brown and center Patrick Ewing, the other returning starter, to help provide experience on a very young team.

Brown will likely be replaced at the point by junior guard Gene Smith, the Hoya captain and one of the best defensive players in the nation. Senior Kurt Kaull and freshman Mike Jackson from South Lakes High School may also get more playing time.

"The biggest problem we will have will be inexperience," Thompson said last night. "Even with Freddie in there, we'd have to do some teaching from scratch. Now, we may have to do more. Now, Gene Smith will be the most experienced player (in the back court)."

Thompson said he thought Brown's ailment resulted from "knocking and banging the knee. It's not an uncommon thing (especially for basketball players). Surgery is not always needed for tendinitis. It's a very unfortunate situation. We hope Fred will be able to make it back as soon as possible."

Brown is already fifth on Georgetown's all-time steals list and his 80 steals last season set a single-season record. He averaged six points and four rebounds per game and has shot 55 percent for his career.