We often see news releases from teams describing "successful surgery" on a player (still waiting to see the first release announcing "unsuccessful surgery"), but rarely do we hear such details of the operation as we heard about the patellar fragment excision performed on Clippers rookie Blake Griffin's left knee Wednesday.
Dr. Steven Shimoyama, who assisted Dr. Neal ElAttrache on the surgery, appeared on the Clippers pregame show on FSN Prime Ticket to discuss the procedure -- and even brought a model of the knee joint to illustrate his points.
According to Dr. Shimoyama, they cut into the patellar tendon, spread open the tendon's fibers, then removed a three-centimeter bone spur that had formed. They also found two other one-centimeter calcifications on the side of the knee and removed those. Then the tendon was sewed up.
The next step was platelet-rich plasma therapy, a still-emerging treatment for athletes that is supposed to promote faster healing. (Dr. ElAttrache was quoted in this New York Times story about the procedure last year). Griffin's own blood was drawn and spun through a centrifuge to separate the red blood cells from the protein-rich platelets, which were sprayed on the tendon. In addition, a hole was drilled into the patella to draw out more blood.
Finally, they scoped the interior of his knee to examine his meniscus and ligaments. Dr. Shimoyama said they were "in very good shape."
Griffin's recovery time is projected to be four to six months.