Britton receives platelet rich plasma therapy

Britton receives platelet rich plasma therapy

Britton receives platelet rich plasma therapy
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Zach Britton received two rounds of platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy on Wednesday, a new and increasingly popular procedure that he hopes will help heal the inflammation in his left shoulder that has plagued him since August.

The procedure was recommended to Britton by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., who told Britton to look at this as a six-week process or more, depending on how his body heals.

Britton called the entire injury experience "obviously frustrating," but the hope continues to be that the 24-year-old lefty, who underwent an MRI that shows no structural damage, will be able to avoid surgery and pitch at some point this season.

"I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Andrews, and he will assess and see how things are," Britton said. "So nothing will happen overnight."

The procedure consists of putting the patient's blood through a centrifuge to isolate platelets and growth factors. Those are then injected back into the injured area to accelerate both healing and tissue growth.

Although the results of PRP are disputed, the procedure has been performed on a few other notable athletes, including Kobe Bryant and Tiger Woods.

Though Britton was already a long shot for Opening Day, Wednesday's events make it a certainty that he will not be ready to start the season. He mentioned the end of April as a potential target, although he later admitted that his timetable is very much up in the air.

"I'm not going to rush back and have the same issue crop back up," he said. "It's just a process that I've got to take. I'm frustrated with it, but if it's going to help me pitch and have a long career, that's the most important thing, not necessarily being ready to pitch in April."

"It could go faster, it could go slower, you just don't know. It's truly unknown right now. You just have to see how my body reacts in a couple of weeks."

Britton won't pick up a ball for at least seven to 10 days, although it could be longer before he starts any kind of rehab program.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.