One of the keys for the 2012 Yankees is getting a healthy Alex Rodriguez. It’s unrealistic to expect him to play 150 games, since he hasn’t done that in the last four seasons. But getting to 135 games seems like a reasonable goal, and it will help the Yankees immensely. Rodriguez has taken a big step in that direction already this winter. According to a report in The New York Post, he underwent “experimental therapy called Orkine” on the right knee that caused him to miss 38 games in July and August.
While the Post termed Orkine experimental, it’s something that’s really been around for a while. It’s a platelet-rich plasma therapy, something we’ve seen other athletes undergo in the recent past. Takashi Saito made headlines in 2008 when he had the procedure in lieu of Tommy John surgery. Yankees fans will remember when Xavier Nady tried it in 2009, only to eventually require TJS. Several athletes have used platelet-rich plasma for knee and ankle injuries. Notables include Troy Polamalu, Tiger Woods, and Kobe Bryant. Rodriguez actually underwent the procedure on the advice of Bryant — whom is reportedly “looks pretty damn spry,” according to at least one NBA fan.
The Post got an excellent quote from Dr. Jonathan Glashow, who is the co-chief of sports medicine at Mout Sinai Hospital.
A lot of athletes I’ve talked to really think this stuff works, but we really don’t have a lot of scientific knowledge behind it of exactly what’s happening. It’s a great way to reduce inflammation and therefore pain, and that’s the essence of it. I think a lot of the athletes who have wear-and-tear on their knees benefit from this. You do it for a while and if it doesn’t stay good you do it again in a few years.
Even more encouragingly, it doesn’t appear that A-Rod will spend much time on the sidelines following the procedure. He underwent it within the last month, and recovery time isn’t very long. Bryant played in a game mere weeks after the procedure. Rodriguez still has a month and a half before he even reports to spring training. That should give him time to get in condition for the season.
Lest anyone think this is repeat of the Gallea or even the Bartolo Colon situation, Alex did get the Yankees’ blessing before getting the plasma injection. The Yankees also cleared it with the commissioner’s office, so there will be no surprise investigations popping up.