Rafael Nadal battled a back injury throughout the 2014 season after hurting it during the Australian Open final in January. It’s lingered for so long that now he’s trying something a little different in his attempt to get back on the court.
Rafael Nadal’s doctor says the 14-time Grand Slam winner will receive stem cell treatment on his ailing back.
Angel Ruiz-Cotorro told The Associated Press by phone on Monday that “we are going to put cells in a joint in his spine” next week in Barcelona.
The Spanish tennis star was already sidelined for the rest of the season after having his appendix removed last week.
Ruiz-Cotorro, who has worked as a doctor for Nadal for the past 14 years, said Nadal’s back pain is “typical of tennis” players and that the treatment is meant to help repair his cartilage and is similar to stem cell treatment Nadal received on his knee last year.
Ruiz-Cotorro continued with the explanation of the treatment:
“(Nadal) has a problem typical in tennis with a back joint, he had it at the Australian Open, and we have decided to treat it with stem cells,” Ruiz-Cotorro said.
He said that stem cells were recently extracted from Nadal for a cultivation process to “produce the necessary quantities.”
“When we have them we will put them in the point of pain,” he said, with the goal of “regenerating cartilage, in the midterm, and producing an anti-inflammatory effect.”
Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, told Marca.com the 14-time Grand Slam winner will undergo the treatments over a five-week span and hopes to be back in training by December.
Even with the back injury and an injured wrist, Nadal still won four titles last season, including his record ninth French Open. He’s currently the No. 3-ranked player in the world.