The Oregonian’s Joel Freeman has some surprising news on the health of Blazers guard Wesley Matthews:
When Wesley Matthews collapsed to the floor during a fluke post-practice accident in January, he hobbled into the trainer’s room in noticeable pain but was seemingly fine. He started at shooting guard the next night, scoring 26 points in a victory over the Phoenix Suns, and went on to play all 82 regular season games.
Turns out, however, that Matthews had suffered a torn tendon in his right ankle during that freak post-practice tumble. He played 48 games, including the playoffs, with the ailment but labored behind the scenes.
“People don’t really know this, but over the last two months of the season I couldn’t feel my right foot,” Matthews said Monday. “It was completely numb.”
When the Blazers’ season ended with a first-round loss to the Dallas Mavericks, Matthews visited two doctors to learn the extent of his injury and explore treatments. Both offered two options: A cortisone shot or surgery.
So Matthews sought a third opinion. That doctor suggested he try a Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injection, the same procedure that Brandon Roy underwent on his hamstring in January 2010 and later on his knees. The procedure involves extracting a patient’s blood, running it through a centrifuge — which separates red blood cells from platelets — and re-injecting the resulting fluid into the injured area.
“I wanted to do everything I could to avoid surgery,” Matthews said. “I talked to three doctors and the last one introduced the PRP injection. When I heard about the PRP, I said, ‘All right, let’s try it.'”
After undergoing the procedure in May and wearing a protective boot for six weeks, Matthews had his boot removed Wednesday. The procedure is not foolproof — in some cases, surgery is the only solution for Matthews’ injury — but Matthews says early indications are positive.
Matthews averaged 15.9 points on 40.7% shooting from beyond the arc in his sophomore campaign. The Blazers owe Matthews around $7 million a year through the 2014-15 season, so they must be praying that Matthews’ PRP treatments prove effective and don’t have any long-term effect on his abilities as a player.
Dwyane Wade has earned his status as an elder statesman, the E.F. Hutton kind of veteran who speaks and everybody listens.
Rookie Justise Winslow is listening.
Winslow (who should have gone higher in this draft) is a perfect fit for the Heat and he’s going to be part of their rotation off the bench from the start of the season (along with Josh McRoberts and Amare Stoudemire). Wade has already fully stepped into the mentor role with Winslow working with him on post moves, reports Jason Lieser at the Palm Beach Post.
“As his career develops, hopefully he’s able to do multiple things on the floor, but right now there’s gonna be certain things (Erik Spoelstra) wants him to do, and some of those things I’m good at,” Wade said. “I’m just passing down knowledge to someone who I think could be good at things that I have strengths at. It’s gonna take a while, but if he figures it out at 21, he’s ahead of the curve. I figured it out at like 27.
“All of us are where we’re at because someone before us helped us. They helped by letting us sit there and watch film with them or having conversations with them. If he’s a student of it and he really wants to know, I’m a pretty decent teacher in certain areas.”
This is what you want out of a veteran leader and some of the young teams out there have done an excellent job adding this kind of mentor — Kevin Garnett in Minnesota may be the best example. Someone who can pass on his wisdom and show the team’s young players how to be a professional and win in the NBA.
It’s a little different for Winslow, he and the Heat are more in a win-now mode, but he should be able to contribute to that.
Bill Bridges, a star as a Kansas Jayhawk who went on to have a 12-year NBA career that included being part of the 1975 Golden State Warriors championship team, has passed away, according to the University of Kansas.
Bridges was an undersized power forward at 6’6″ but he was a beast on the boards who averaged 11.9 rebounds a game for his career and more than 13 a game for six straight years at the peak of his career. That 11.9 per game average is still 27th all-time in NBA history.
A New Mexico native, Bridges was a three-time All-Star (all as a member of the Hawks), two-time All-NBA Defensive team, and was part of the 1975 Warriors title team. Besides the Hawks (St. Louis and Atlanta) and Warriors, Bridges played for the Sixers and Lakers.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.