|ESPN.com: NBA||[Print without images]|
Kobe Bryant traveled to Germany in October to undergo an innovative procedure on his left ankle, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.
It was Bryant's second such trip during the offseason. The Los Angeles Lakers guard underwent an experimental but increasingly popular procedure in Germany in July in an attempt to help heal his oft-injured right knee, a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com at that time.
The procedure, called platelet-rich plasma therapy, consists of centrifuging the patient's blood to isolate platelets and growth factors. The mix is then injected into the injured area to accelerate healing. The concentrated growth factors have been shown to speed tissue growth and healing in surgically created lesions in lab animals.
Golfer Tiger Woods, New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee also reportedly have undergone the treatment.
Bryant, 33, has been bothered in recent seasons by an arthritic joint in his right knee. He has undergone three other knee procedures since 2003, including surgery last July to remove unspecified loose bodies.
Another injury could keep Bryant from the team's season opener on Christmas Day. Bryant missed the Lakers' preseason finale against the Clippers on Wednesday night because of a torn ligament in his right wrist, and his status for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bulls is up in the air.
After going through a full Christmas Eve practice, however, Bryant said he was OK but refused to answer any questions about the torn lunotriquetral ligament in his right wrist.
"I'm fine," Bryant said. "I'm not talking about my injury."
Last season, Bryant played in all 82 games for the fourth time in his career. He averaged 25-3 points a game.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.