JAMES Yap has struggled with a nagging back injury for the past few weeks, but an innovative treatment has helped put the San Mig star in better shape ahead of the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.
Yap had rated his chances of playing in Game One of the best-of-five playoff with Alaska at 'fifty-fifty,' but he and the team's therapists sounded more upbeat after an MRI test showed no major damage while the laser treatment helps keep the pain to bearable levels.
“Kaya naman,” San Mig therapist Arcee Cua told Spin.ph when asked if Yap is ready to play in Game One on Saturday. “Basta sabi ko ilaro mo na `yung (semifinal) games. Mahaba naman ang All-Star break.
Pain management lang saka kailangan niya active rest, meaning nag-te-therapy siya. Malaking tulong kasi `yun sa kanya.”
The two-time league MVP has taken advantage of the two-day break after San Mig's series-clinching 90-82 win over Meralco on Wednesday to get the laser treatment, which repairs damaged tissues and eases the pressure on his lower back.
“From what I hear, (Yap's injury is) muscle-related. There’s no nerve damage. The muscle, tendon, they can be treated by the laser,” said Todd Benfit, the man responsible for bringing into the country Biolase, a laser gadget he used in treating injuries.
"He (Yap) told me today without the laser, he couldn’t play (in the semis)."
The same treatment has helped Yap’s teammate Joe Devance return to action ahead of the timetable set by doctors when he hyperextended his knee more than a month ago.
The laser treatment is now being used in the NBA to help injuries heal faster, especially those related to tendons, muscles, and ligaments, Benfit said.
Benfit, who is expected to be hired by San Mig Coffee soon, is a certified laser specialist that makes him the only person authorized to use the Biolase on any player experiencing back, knee, or leg injuries.
“Nakakapag-relax siya ng muscles ko sa likod, kasi nag-i-stiffen siya, lalo na kung nakaupo ako ng matagal,” Yap said after undergoing a 10-minute laser treatment before the Mixers' team viewing at the Ronac gym in San Juan on Friday.