Earlier this offseason, Kobe Bryant underwent a mysterious treatment for his aching knee in Germany. At the time, the procedure was compared to platelet rich therapy, a treatment in which platelets are injected into the tissue of the troublesome spot in order to spur restoration and healing. But a report from ESPN The Magazine's Shaun Assaelreveals that the procedure Bryant underwent is even less well-known than that.
Assael reports that the L.A. Lakers' star saw Dr. Peter Wehling in Dusseldorf. Wehling is the pioneer of a blood treatment that he claims has a 90 percent success rate in not just healing injuries, but curing arthritis.
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."
It's unclear where on the blood treatment spectrum this lays with regards to doping regulations. The NBA simply bans performance-enhancing drugs; there's no mention in Assael's story whether this type of blood treatment would run afoul of Olympic regulations. Kobe is expected to play in the 2012 London Olympics for Team USA.