On the same night that the NBA world was crumbling with news of the inevitable lockout, the LA Times reported that Kobe Bryant had been undergoing treatment similar to platelet-rich plasma therapy on his right knee. That’s the same knee that caused him trouble for the past season, keeping him out of practices, requiring lots of therapy and treatment and giving the rest of us a jolt of reality when it serves as a reminder that everyone ages, even Kobe. The procedure, taking place in Germany is fairly simple and takes only about an hour.
Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner described it as such:
A small amount of blood is drawn from the patient’s arm and spun in a centrifuge for about 20 minutes to isolate platelets. With guidance from ultrasound, the platelets are then injected into the injured area to try to stimulate tissue repair.
As long as the blood is not injected with HGH or IGF-1, it’s considered fair game as a form of treatment for athletes. NBA-wise, Brandon Roy is probably the most high-profile star to experiment with PRP treatments last season. Ben Golliver of CBS Sports recently spoke with Roy in Seattle where he talked about how he is feeling a few months removed from the PRP treatments.
“I’m doing good, I’m doing great,” Roy said. “Working out, keeping my weight down. And starting to play a little basketball this week. Enjoying the summer, really trying to take my time and keep improving. I’m healthy. I’m in a position where I’m not battling any soreness or anything, so I feel like I can start improving, getting better with my game. I’m excited.”
While there isn’t a lot of information out there about the effectiveness of the procedure, the images, tweets and video from the recent Smart All-Stars/PBA All-Stars games that went down over the weekend showed a Bryant who is feeling fine. Bryant was dunking during warm ups, getting plenty of lift and looking more like the Kobe of a few years ago than of a man who will turn 34 next month.
For basketball fanatics, this is beautiful news in an otherwise dark and dreary summer. If an extended offseason means that some guys can get the rest, treatment and recovery that they need, then I’ll find a way to deal with the void. When you’re 33 years old and you train as hard and as diligently as Bryant has over the duration of his career, you’ve got to take whatever opportunities available to you to try and regain an edge.
He’s not going to be able to erase 15 years of pounding and 48,310 minutes of basketball played, but he can use this offseason to try something new. By the looks of his performance in Manila, things seem to be going working out just fine.