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Thursday, August 23, 2012
Regenokine + surgery doesn't 'make sense'

By Kevin Seifert

Reports that Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher sought alternative treatment for his left knee spurred plenty of discussion Wednesday. Our take is here, but one of the items I missed was an ESPN 1000 interview with the Los Angeles-based partner of the German doctor who developed the treatment known as Regenokine.

Dr. Chris Renna, a professional partner of Dr. Peter Wehling, explained the process if you're interested and said it costs $9,000 for one treatment on one joint. He could not discuss the specifics of Urlacher's condition or even confirm he was treated. But Renna's most interesting comment came when discussing the general scenario that Urlacher appears to have followed: A late-spring round of Regenokine therapy followed by arthroscopic surgery in August.

"Just talking about medical treatments," Renna said, "it wouldn't make the most sense to have an anti-inflammatory treatment like Regenokine followed by an inflammatory process like surgery. That wouldn't make sense."

This leads to one of several answers in Urlacher's case, assuming he did in fact have the Regenokine treatment. It's possible it didn't work; Renna cited studies noting a 70-percent success rate. Perhaps Urlacher didn't follow the treatment's protocol by having arthroscopic surgery. Or, as my corporate cousin Jeff Dickerson suggested Thursday on ESPN 1000, maybe Urlacher suffered a new injury after reporting to training camp.

I know many of you aren't interested in the drama of this story, as long as Urlacher gets back on the field in time for the season. But to me, the drama makes it much less inviting to believe public projections that he will be ready to play in Week 1. There are too many unknowns, too much secrecy and a few two many snippy public comments to take that projection at face value. None of this is about the kind of treatment Urlacher has had. It's about the fact that he's still having any treatment at all, more than seven months after the original injury.

The Bears' season starts Sept. 9 against the Indianapolis Colts. To play in that game, Urlacher presumably would need to resume practicing by Sept. 3, or at the latest, Sept. 5. Either way, Urlacher has less than two weeks remaining in his rehabilitation.

Related: A Grantland feature on other athletes known to have undergone this treatment.