Kobe Bryant Now Among The Growing Number Of Athletes Choosing Alternative Surgeries

I personally think this is the most fascinating aspect of sports going into the next decade.  How does a sport draw the line between advanced medicine and performance enhancement?  If it’s not against the rules, why wouldn’t you blood dope during the middle of an NBA playoff run to boost your stamina?  Was Bartolo Calon’s revitalized career due to one type of this advanced medicine just the tip of the iceberg?  It will be fascinating to find out.  From the LA Times:

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has taken an unusual step to try to strengthen his ailing right knee, undergoing an innovative procedure in Germany about a month ago, according to four people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly.

The treatment is a derivation of platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP procedures are less invasive than many surgeries involving the knee and are viewed as either an emerging solution to knee problems or a financial gamble on unproven science.

The PRP procedure is fairly simple and takes about an hour.

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.

But do PRP procedures really work? The consensus is that more long-term research needs to be done.

“Right now, the data is immature,” said Allan Mishra, an orthopedic surgeon who administers PRP treatments and is an adjunct professor of orthopedic surgery at Stanford University Medical Center. “There is a lot of cool stuff going on, but I temper that by saying we have a lot more work to do before it is definitive.”

The procedure isn’t close to mainstream but is becoming more common and might take another two to four years to fully validate, Mishra said.

“The interesting part is that it’s not super complicated,” he said. “It’s really only your own blood taken out of a vein and prepared right in front of you and then put back in an area of your condition. So the concept is to try and use within your own body to help heal yourself. This is an opportunity to really take advantage of the body’s own natural ability.”

Stamp of approval here.

[LA Times]


Cutler Has Torn MCL, Analysts Are Idiots

You should already know how I feel about this topic, if not read the post below this.  Here’s proof of the injury, from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was scheduled to undergo an MRI this morning to determine the extent of a torn MCL believed to be in his left knee, according to a source close to the situation.

Neither Cutler nor coach Lovie Smith explained when the injury occurred in the second quarter, but Cutler headed to the locker room for halftime ahead of his teammates, and he tested the stability of his knee in the opening series ot the third quarter. At that point, Smith said the team made the decision to remove him from the game.

“For us, Jay hurt his knee,” Smith said. “He just couldn’t go; team, doctors and all, there was no decision, really. He was injured.”

An MCL tear is consistent with what Cutler noted after the game, that he was hit on the outside of his knee.

The medial collateral ligament is one of the four ligaments that stabilizes the knee joint. Depending on the severity, an athlete could miss anywhere from one to six weeks, or longer.

A Grade 1 tear, which is incomplete, usually just involves pain and one to two weeks of recovery.

In a Grade 3 tear, which is complete, an athlete could have significant pain and swelling and endure instability in that knee. Surgery is not necessarily required, but the knee needs to be immobilized with a brace and crutches might be needed. It could take six weeks to heal.

If you’re still ripping the guy you’re an idiot.  Most of the criticism originates from the simple fact that Cutler isn’t what most Americans conceive a quarterback to be.  He doesn’t look the part, he doesn’t act the part.  If you need further proof of this, check out this fantastic article from SB Nation which breaks it down.  Here’s a little taste:

Physiognomy, the 19th century pseudoscience of determining character through appearance, lives. If you doubt this, just look at Jay Cutler. Cutler’s chin–his first one–sits like a sullen trapdoor at the bottom of his skull, pulling the general countenance of his face into the dour range at best. His downturned mouthsits in a near-perpetual scowl. His eyes sit deep in his head. His face has the puffiness of a frat boy on the tail end of a six month bender of late nights, beer bongs, and endless Xbox victories. He lacks the ability to emote to a Favrian degree.

If you slapped a top hat and ascot on him, he might be the very picture of aristocratic indulgence. (Come on: you can totally see that face on top of a waistcoat kicking an urchin to the curb to get to the door of his Gentleman’s Club.) In a modern context, he looks exactly like the worst possible visage of a quarterback drafted out of Vanderbilt, and maybe that is the problem: Jay Cutler looks the part, even if he’s not playing the part. He kind of looks like a sullen trustafarian who doesn’t understand why securities fraud is wrong, and not so much like the prototypical NFL golden boy quarterback.

You’re going to hear a lot of people try to alter their asinine arguments that he wasn’t tough enough into something along the lines of the fact that it’s his fault for allowing us to perceive him on the sideline in the first place.

Nevermind the fact that it’s not his fault the whole Bears staff, coaching and medical alike, blew it by letting him stand on the sideline.  Nevermind the fact that the Fox sideline reporters BLEW it by not attempting in any way to get an idea about what was going on (why are they even there in the first place?), thus giving the viewing audience the chance to question his “toughness” and “heart.”  Nevermind the fact that offensive lineman Olin Kreutz testified that he saw Cutler’s leg waddle under his own body weight as he attempted to play on it at the start of the third quarter.

The simple fact is people have a preconceived bias on Jay Cutler and this was the aha! moment all of them had been waiting for. 

It’s not fair and it’s dumb

[Chicago Sun-Times] [SB Nation]