Chris Canty had no problem hearing about the treatment. After undergoing a number of procedures in his career, listening to doctors talk about platelet-rich plasma therapy as an option for his hamstring injury didn't phase him at all. If anything, he was excited about the possibility of a prompt return to the field.
Then it came time for it to happen.
"I was a little squeamish when I saw the tube of blood they took out of me," Canty said Wednesday. "That thing was huge. That was the worst part."
On Monday Canty underwent the procedure to aid a slow-healing hamstring injury that has had him sidelined since the first week of August. By Wednesday he was doing some running and jogging on the sideline while the rest of the team practiced. While he's not close to returning to the field, Canty is thrilled by the results he has seen in 48 hours.
"It felt pretty good," Canty said of his hamstring after the test drive. "Obviously Monday's treatment was a step in the right direction."
Platelet-rich plasma therapy has been used in medicine for years, according to Dr. Alexis Chiang Colvin, sports medicine specialist at the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Essentially a patient's blood is drawn and placed in a centrifuge that produces concentrated platelets containing growth factors which accelerate tissue repair and regeneration. Those platelets are then injected into the patient.
Paging Dr. Dracula.
PRP therapy has been a common treatment in areas like dentistry and plastic surgery, Colvin said, but has only recently found its way into orthopedics. Steelers receiver Hines Ward used it on a knee injury and was able to play in the Super Bowl earlier this year.
"It's definitely getting more commonplace," she said. "It provides a concentrated dose of everything the body uses for healing."
Now that Canty's body is recovering, he can focus on getting his head around the Giants' defense. This is the first time Canty, a free agent who signed a six-year, $42-million deal this winter, is playing in a 4-3 scheme, so everything is new.
"It's the first time I've had to learn a new defense in nine years, since high school," Canty said. "I've been playing a 3-4 for the last decade. So playing in a 4-3 is a little bit different as far as the philosophy, terminology, techniques. It's an adjustment."
That adjustment requires time on the field, something Canty hasn't been able to produce. At least not this summer.
"It's a good thing he had the OTAs and our mandatory camp last spring," Tom Coughlin said. "It is a lot different."
Canty's hamstring is feeling different as well.
"It wasn't as painful, it wasn't as tight, particularly moving around," he said of the improvement since Monday. "That's when you can really tell. You can maybe feel all right walking, but you don't play football walking. You have to be able to run, you have to be able to sprint, you have to be able to do athletic movements. So that's the real test."
When that test comes, Canty was unwilling to say. He did say he feels as if he still has work he needs to do on the practice field. And he added that he is "very hopeful" of being ready for the regular-season opener on Sept. 13.
"I played every game [in Dallas], so missing a football game period was tough for me," Canty said. "Hopefully I won't have to do that too many more times."