- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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DALLAS – Mavericks owner Mark Cuban intends to fund studies to determine whether human growth hormone use would be beneficial for athletes rehabilitating from injuries.
USA Today reported this week that Cuban broached the subject at NBA's Board of Governors meetings in October, suggesting that the issue should be studied to determine whether HGH should remain on the league's banned-substance list or be permitted for use by players recovering from injuries.
Cuban said Wednesday night that league officials were relatively receptive to the idea of the studies, which he is willing to fund.
"They're open-minded," Cuban said. "Knowing that it'll take 10 years to get [the studies] done, it's easy to be open-minded and say when it's there, it's there. But hopefully it's something I can accelerate.
"I've talked to a couple of different universities about funding studies. It doesn't happen in a year or two, though. It'll take a long time."
Any HGH use would have to be cleared by the Food & Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Agency.
The FDA currently only allows HGH use for children whose growth is stunted due to various medical reasons or adults with a bowel syndrome, a hormone deficiency due to pituitary tumors or muscle-wasting diseases associated with HIV. The DEA bans use of HGH for improved athletic performance.
If HGH use is cleared by those agencies, Cuban is not concerned about the public perception of allowing NBA players to be prescribed the drug.
"That's curable," Cuban said. "That's so curable it's easy. I mean, think of it this way: Any drug that's been FDA approved that has medical benefits, there's going to be a non-sports population that benefits from it. If you've got every recreational athlete using it to recover, then it's becomes kind of the Tommy John surgery equivalent.
"It's like when I was a kid, I was stuck with glasses for life. Then Lasik comes along and it gets approved. Now, every player uses it and needs it. I'm not worried about the public perception. Perception is really connected to non-prescribed usage. If it's all prescribed usage, it's a different animal."
1dMatt Walks, ESPN.com