'The doctors are limiting me to 100 balls a day, which is frustrating because it's hard to work out my flaws,' Woods said Friday on his Web site. 'The good news is that for the first time in nearly a year, my knee is pain free.'
Woods, coming off a year in which he won the Masters and U.S. Open, had surgery Dec. 12 to remove fluid around his left knee ligaments and to remove benign cysts.
He said he hopes to return to the PGA Tour during the West Coast swing, presumably the Buick Invitational, if his knee is ready.
'Hopefully, I have a long career ahead of me and there's no sense rushing it,' he said.
This is the longest layoff of his career, and the first time he has been forced to miss a tournament because of injury. Woods skipped the winners-only Mercedes Championships last week at Kapalua, which Ernie Els won at a record 31 under par.
'I don't think I've ever seen Ernie Els swing so well,' Woods said. 'He seemed in complete control, and it was a great performance. I look forward to playing against him in Dubai in March.'
Woods has agreed to play in the United Arab Emirates and 'nothing has shown me otherwise' that he should stay out of the area. His agent, Mark Steinberg at IMG, said he would talk to high-ranking government officials as the tournament gets closer.
Meantime, Woods said he hopes to play 18 holes next week for the first time since he finished second in his Target World Challenge on Dec. 8.
He said he played seven holes at Isleworth Country Club, his home course outside Orlando, Fla., but used nothing more than a 3-iron.
Woods also has been giving lessons to Swedish girlfriend Elin Nordegren.
'My dad's also been helping her, and she's doing very well for a beginner,' Woods said. 'Now, if I could just get her to release the club. She's having fun, and that's the main thing.'