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.