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Interesting little tidbit coming from Ottawa's general manager on Tuesday. His comments about Daniel Alfredsson's future and the decision he expects to receive from the Swedish winger on Friday will get the most attention, but I was more intrigued with his commentary on one Milan Michalek.
Michalek's been battling chronic knee issues for a few years now, and he missed a significant chunk of this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in New York. Michalek said he felt better after the procedure, but I was kind of skeptical as to whether or not the treatment had returned him to ideal playing-form.
So, it's not particularly surprising to hear that the Czech consulted some additional
help in preparation for next year -- including a visit to Germany.
Interesting thing about Germany: it's becoming a haven of sorts for the treatment of these kinds of injuries, perhaps most notably
in the form of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant. The latest wave of therapy is called Regenokine, a part of biologic medicine banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, who only allow for minimal tissue manipulations. The process is legal in Germany, where the patient's tissues are (a) extracted; (b) manipulated; and (c) reintroduced to the body.
The linked Grantland piece covered the process in-depth:
The procedure begins with the removal of a small cup of blood from a patient, which is then incubated at a slightly elevated temperature. (The goal is to give the blood a fever.) The liquid is then spun in a centrifuge until it's separated into its constituent parts. The heavy red blood cells accumulate in the bottom layer, a layer of crimson crud at the bottom of the plastic tube. The relevant fluid is the middle yellowish layer — it looks like viscous urine — which is dense with agents that, at least in theory, can accelerate the natural healing mechanisms of the body. "The inflammatory response is normally part of the recovery process," says Chris Renna, one of the only American doctors administering Regenokine. "But sometimes the body can't turn the inflammation off, and that's when you get chronic pain and arthritic degeneration. The goal of Regenokine is to stop that response so your body can begin getting better."
Kobe heading overseas for treatment was kind of a big story in the NBA: it sort of seemed like a last-ditched effort at stunting the inevitable. And, crazily enough, it seemed to work. Kobe Bryant, prior to shredding his achilles tendon late in the year, looked like his twenty-five year-old self. There was explosion. There was agility. There was bounce. There was this
. The procedure appeared to work. But Kobe never opened up about the treatment to the media.
Far be it from me to make grand assumptions here, but when I hear of professional athletes heading halfway across the world for knee treatment in the wake of potential surgical success, I grow a bit suspicious. And, look at Bryan Murray's quotes on the matter: hardly anything there of substance. Certain didn't look like he was ready to open up about his player's recent medical history.
Sort of vague language, heading to the country of specialization for biologic medicine, a guy who has had numerous injuries and corresponding corrective surgeries yielding mixed or negative results ..
There's no way to know whether or not the treatment will work for Milan Michalek. The jury still seems to be out on these kind of manipulations and there really isn't enough evidence or sample to know whether or not they're effective in healing the human body.
But, I don't criticize the Czech for trying. And I think he is.
Thanks for reading!