David Ortiz was placed on the disabled list again on Monday after aggravating his injured Achilles in a one-game return. Ortiz doesn't want to be shut down for the season, but the Red Sox don't want to risk exacerbating the injury. The two parties met in the middle, with Ortiz receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in the damaged area on Monday. If the injection does its job, Ortiz can return before the year is out, but if not, Boston will continue to rest the free agent slugger, who is likely to be re-signed.
Carl Crawford received a PRP injection in his elbow back in April, in the hopes of avoiding Tommy John surgery. While that didn't work out, PRP injections do have a positive impact for many athletes, like the NFL's Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward, as well as golfer Tiger Woods.
What is a PRP injection? A patient's blood is injected into the weakened area, after the blood has been spun in a centrifuge and the platelet-rich plasma has been separated from the rest of it. The idea is to stimulate tissue recovery thanks to a multitude of growth factors found within the body's own blood; this, in theory, allows the patient to avoid surgery thanks to the regrowth and strengthening of the area.
Surgery can often guarantee a fix, but avoiding surgery can mean shorter recovery times. Takashi Saito, the Dodgers pitcher who had a PRP injection for his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, is one such example. Saito had a PRP injection, and after missing half of July and all of August, returned in mid-September before the Dodgers started the postseason. If he had gone under the knife, he would have missed at least 10-12 months in his recovery, and become a non-factor for the rest of the season in the process.
Ortiz was told he has a 60-70 percent chance of returning in 2012 after receiving the PRP injection, but that beats the absolute zero that shockwave treatment would allow. For shockwave treatment, Ortiz would have missed the rest of the year before he had accumulated the rest necessary for the procedure to properly take. He'll still go through with that process in the off-season, when there is no shortage of four-to-five week stretches, but to do so now would have meant ending his 2012 already; PRP allows him to avoid that for now.