Dwight Howard is heading back to Los Angeles to receive platelet rich plasma therapy. A few quick notes on the infamous "PRP" procedure, and a look at how Dwight aggravated his shoulder each of the last two times.
Earlier today it was reported that Dwight Howard would miss tonight's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves due to his shoulder injury. Now, it appears the Lakers are sending him back to Los Angeles so he can receive the ever trendy "platelet rich plasma procedure" that the Lakers have most recently practiced on Steve Blake. Howard is now considered day-to-day and will return to the team in Detroit on Sunday.
Howard will fly to Los Angeles today to visit Dr. Steven Yoon before undergoing the PRP procedure. He will then fly to Detroit to rejoin the team.
The Lakers have listed Howard as day-to-day when they play Sunday against the Pistons. - Mark Medina, L.A. Daily News
So what exactly is a "PRP" procedure? We've all heard about it no doubt over the last few years. Perhaps most famously, Kobe Bryant had the procedure done on his knee that he said he could barely play on prior to the experimental procedure. Nowadays you barely ever hear anything specific about Kobe's knee bothering him, though recently he's taken to wearing a sleeve over it.
And yet, the aging Kobe — he will turn 34 this summer— seems to have resisted this dismal downward arc. In particular, Kobe's arthritic right knee seems to have healed itself, allowing him to return to more aggressive form. As Mike Brown, the Lakers coach, noted in December: "He's done some things in practice that have kind of wowed you as far as taking the ball to the basket strong and finishing with dunks in traffic." Kobe concurs: "I feel a lot stronger and a lot quicker." - Jonah Lehrer, Grantland.com
Dr. Steven Sampson explained the effects, and what a PRP procedure actually is in that same Grantland piece.
However, when Sampson looked into the logic behind the treatment, he became intrigued. "What's more natural than your own blood?" Sampson asks. "All we're doing is amplifying the body's own healing mechanism. And we're doing this in the most minimal way possible. There's no adverse reaction, no immune response, because it's your blood. Only better." - Jonah Lehrer, Grantland.com
So, Howard will give PRP a crack, which may or may not have great effect on his shoulder. Looking at the two instances of where he re-aggravated his shoulder, it's difficult to see how the Lakers can prevent him from repeated setbacks throughout the remainder of the season.
He first re-aggravatated it against the Memphis Grizzlies with a simple reach while he attempted to block a shot.
His most recent aggravation came on a play that's going to happen time and time again, especially as teams have knowledge of Dwight's weak shoulder.
PRP may help increase the recovery time of his shoulder and reduce the pain, but when teams are hacking at Dwight's arms and hands like they're wearing flannel shirts and toting axes, count me in as skeptical this isn't going to be a continuous problem for Los Angeles.
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