Nadal’s team opened up about his use of platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) during his knee rehabilitation. The treatment involves taking a small vial of a person’s blood, spinning it in a centrifuge to separate the platelet-rich cells, which carry growth factors that have a regenerative effect, and reinjecting those cells into the site of the injury to speed up recovery.
Bloomberg estimates that thousands of athletes have undergone the procedure, including Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Troy Polamalu.
The PRP may have much wider benefits to performance. Doctors Amy Wasterlain and Jason Dragoo found that Human Growth Hormone ‘increases dramatically within the first 24 hours after PRP infiltration’. They said that their trials had shown its effects can include ‘rocketing both anabolic and catabolic growth factor release’.
“The feeling on the knee is not 100 percent perfect,” he said. “But the feeling on the knee is very good for me because the pain is not limiting my movements. That’s the most important thing. I am playing with no limitations. I am free when I am playing.