NBA All-Star Dwight Howard Receives Platelet Rich Plasma for Knee Injury

Houston Rocket’s Center, Dwight Howard,  joins a growing list of NBA players and world class athletes to undergo Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment. According to ESPN, Howard recently underwent the procedure for a strained right knee he suffered earlier in the season. After receiving the injection, Howard stated,” It feels a lot better”, although the Houston Rockets and Howard have not commented on his return to the court.

The ESPN article also comments on PRP’s common use for “long-term treatment”, implying that it is generally used to treat more chronic injuries and prolong the need for more invasive options in the long term. Although PRP is commonly used in chronic conditions such as joint osteoarthritis and tennis elbow, as of late, clinicians and researchers have started to discuss the application of PRP for acute injuries such as muscle strains and ligament injuries. Significantly more research is needed to evaluate the efficacy of PRP for acute injuries, as well as determine its effectiveness in conjunction with other conservative treatment modalities.  However, athletes and researchers alike are hopeful that the potent mixture of platelets and growth factors may expedite the healing process, and help injured athletes and weekend warriors return to action sooner.

On the left is a picture of Platelet Rich Plasma after centrifugation. The PRP is extracted from the patient’s whole blood and injected to the point of injury.

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