We know that Kobe Bryant is playing on knees that have about as much cartilage left as knee as Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has money left.
The difference is Kobe is smart about it, and is trying to figure out how to make what he has left last. Hence the trip to Germany this summer to get a new high-tech blood procedure on his knee that could help it heal and last.
Except this is Kobe, so he didn’t get the standard platelet-rich plasma. He pushed it about as far as he could, according to a story by ESPN.
According to a source familiar with Bryant’s treatment, his blood was treated to isolate growth factors that attack inflammation, and then cultured with chemicals to increase their potency before being injected into his arthritic right knee.
Wehling declined to confirm or deny that he treated Bryant. But in a rare interview about his work, he told ESPN The Magazine, “I am the only one to have found a way to cure arthritis….”
Although Wehling’s procedure shares some similarity to traditional platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, the physician says he’s achieved a nearly 90 percent success rate by genetically screening his patients to personalize their treatments. His website shows him with his arm around actor Nick Nolte.
If everything is going to go as good for Kobe as it has for Nolte….
This doctor worked on Tracy McGrady, who did seem to be moving better last season than he had previously. Wehling also worked on Pope John Paul II.
Will what worked for the pope work for Kobe? Who knows. But if Kobe gets added rest from a lockout — and doesn’t go off playing in Italy — it will be hard to say if the credit belongs to the fancy treatment or just more rest for an aging body.