Explaining Michael Morse’s PRP injection


(Julio Cortez/AP)

Dr. Dennis Cardone, an orthopedic surgeon at the NYU Medical Center, said in a phone conversation Morse will likely not feel the effects of the injection for four to six weeks, but that the shot would not hinder his recovery.

Cardone is not personally familiar with Morse’s strained lat, but after being told the particulars, he believed the Nationals are merely trying to augment a standard recovery.

“In this scenario, they’re just throwing everything that they can at it to speed up the healing process,” Cardone said. “The beauty of PRP is, there’s no risk. Whether it will quicken the recovery process is in question – very much in question. But it wouldn’t hold him out otherwise.”

The effectiveness of the increasingly popular procedure remain under debate, but there is no recovery time required from the injection itself, as there would be with surgery. Typically, Cardone said, an athlete will be shut down for two weeks – which explains Morse’s prolonged time away from baseball activity.

The PRP shot is not as fast-acting as other treatment, such as a cortisone shot. The injection takes four to six weeks to take effect. Effectively, Cardone said, the Nationals are hoping the procedure will help strengthen the muscle down the road.

The PRP treatment is most effective for athletes who have tried standard, long-term recovery and have failed to come back. Think Bartolo Colon, who resurfaced last season and had an effective first half for the New York Yankees after using a PRP treatment on his elbow.

Morse, though, does not fit that description. Cardone said teams can try to use the PRP to assist muscle healing, not as a cure-all. He also said there is no hard evidence that will work, but that it is worth trying.

“The key to PRP,” Cardone said, “is that it enhances the body’s healing response.”

Morse heads the list of a bevy of Nationals dealing with injury. This morning, Chien-Ming Wang jogged slowly around the warning track at Space Coast Stadium to rehab his badly strained hamstring. Adam LaRoche will miss games until at least Sunday as he recovers from a bone bruise. Manager Davey Johnson put an optimistic spin on the injuries today.

“All the reports that I got were, to a man, positive,” Johnson said. “We’ve been in a rest, wait, test, more tests. This time of year, you can be real conservative. I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for all of these guys.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.

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