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Doctors pleased with Mandela's recovery, but aren't rushing him home

By CNN Staff
December 18, 2012 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Nelson Mandela and his third wife, Graca Machel, arrive at the 2010 World Cup before the final match between Netherlands and Spain on July 11, 2010, at Soccer City Stadium in Soweto.
Nelson Mandela and his third wife, Graca Machel, arrive at the 2010 World Cup before the final match between Netherlands and Spain on July 11, 2010, at Soccer City Stadium in Soweto.
  • Nelson Mandela underwent a procedure to remove gall stones on Saturday
  • Mandela, 94, still requires "extraordinary care," the South African presidency says
  • The Nobel laureate has been hospitalized for 11 days
  • A presidential spokesperson says he joked with the former president during a visit Tuesday

(CNN) -- Doctors are "satisfied" with Nelson Mandela's progress three days after he underwent endoscopic surgery to remove gall stones, but he will remain under their care for the time being, the office of the South African president said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the statement, doctors said "there is no crisis, but add that they are in no hurry to send him home just yet until they are satisfied that he has made sufficient progress."

"We urge the public to continue supporting Madiba, but at the same time to understand that he is 94 years old and needs extraordinary care," the South African presidency said. "If he spends more days in the hospital, it is because that necessary care is being provided."

Read more: Nelson Mandela has lung infection

Mandela, who has been hospitalized for 11 days because of a recurring lung infection, has not appeared in public since the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa.

Nelson Mandela undergoes surgery

The former president gets round-the-clock care since abdominal surgery this year and an acute respiratory infection in 2011.

According to the statement, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj went to see the former president Tuesday and reported, "He is looking much better," and that the former president asked, "Mac, what are you doing here?"

"I asked him not give doctors any trouble," Maharaj said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner spent 27 years in prison for fighting against oppression of blacks in South Africa. He became the nation's first black president in 1994, four years after he was freed.

South Africa last month launched a new batch of banknotes with a picture of a smiling Mandela on the front.

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