Steve Blake, a reserve guard for the Washington Wizards and former standout at the University of Maryland, will miss at least the first month of the upcoming NBA season after undergoing ankle surgery yesterday to remove a chipped bone, the team announced.

Blake, 24, who injured his right ankle during a pickup basketball game last month, is expected to be out 10 to 12 weeks, according to Ernie Grunfeld, the Wizards' president of basketball operations.

"It's an uncommon injury but we expect Steve to make a full recovery," Grunfeld said in a statement. "Steve is a very diligent worker. I know he's anxious to begin rehabilitation and get back to action with his teammates as soon as possible."

The 6-foot-3, 178-pound Blake, entering his second NBA season, was expected to back up point guard Gilbert Arenas. In his rookie year, Blake played in 75 games and averaged 5.9 points and 2.8 assists.

The Wizards' remaining guards are Larry Hughes, Juan Dixon, Jarvis Hayes and the recently acquired Anthony Peeler.

At Maryland, Blake set a school record for assists (972) and career starts (136) and was a member of the 2002 national championship team along with Dixon.

-- Greg Sandoval

BLAKE