While the top men’s tennis players battle it out in the ATP Finals this week, two-time runner up Rafael Nadal will be receving stem cell treatment on his back. The Spaniard has dealt with an ailing back since he lost to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final back in January. He is already out for the rest of the season after he had his appendix removed last week.
“[Nadal] has a problem typical in tennis with a back joint, he had it at the Australian Open, and we have decided to treat it with stem cells,” Nadal’s doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro told The Associated Press over the phone Monday.
Ruiz-Cotorro said Nadal recently had stem cells extracted from his body for a cultivation process which would produce enough quantities. He said they are going to put those cells into a joint in Nadal’s spine, and that the 14-time Grand Slam winner is expected to return to training sometime in early December.
The treatment is designed to help repair the cartilage inside of that joint and is similar to the treatment Nadal had on his knee last year.
Unfortunately, injuries have become all too familiar for Nadal, who has played in just three tournaments since Wimbledon. The nine-time French Open champion missed much of 2012 with a knee injury, and has had his 2014 cut short due to a number of different ailments.