Cutting-edge therapy speeds return of Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe
Spurs relieved as main striker is on course to play against Norwich after abdominal injury
Jermain Defoe is expected to play for Tottenham at Norwich thanks partly to a course of cutting-edge treatment that has helped speed his recovery from an abdominal injury.
The club have denied that the England forward's problem was serious, but he missed Sunday's FA Cup defeat at Leeds United, and there was sufficient concern last week to give Defoe an MRI scan and then what manager Andre Villas-Boas called "growth factor treatment and plasma platelet treatments".
The technique is legal and permitted by Fifa. It was used at Chelsea during the Jose Mourinho era, when Villas-Boas was a member of the scouting team. Villas-Boas has introduced the method at White Hart Lane since he became head coach last summer.
"We believe a lot in growth-factor treatment and plasma platelet treatments," said Villas-Boas. "It is a technique that we have been using since the beginning of the season. It is not common but does happen from club to club. The player adhered to the treatment very, very well so we can move forward.
"You take out the blood from any part of the body and spin it around. The plasma comes to the top of the blood and you are able to inject it back into the body and that is the part of the blood that heals injuries. It accelerates the recovery process.
"The day he felt the injury was Friday and he had the injection. Now he is available for selection. That is the remarkable thing."
Whatever the methods used to make him healthy, Defoe's fitness is a genuine concern for Tottenham. Villas-Boas ruled out any need for surgery, but with Emmanuel Adebayor the club's only other senior forward, it is apparent that Defoe will have to be monitored very carefully from now until the end of the season.
"It was a grade one injury [the most minor of three types of muscle tear] that was treated immediately," said Villas-Boas. "We acknowledged that resting him for Leeds was almost compulsory so we let him out of the game and he has made an excellent recovery. In muscle injuries there is always a risk of it showing up again, but the medical department feel positive about it and the player is positive and he knows his body well.
"Normally grade one injuries can take days to recover from depending on the player's body. We are happy with the development of his injury and the player feels no pain."
Odds Norwich 7-2 Draw 13-5 Tottenham 5-6
Kick-off 7.45pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)
Referee N Swarbrick (Lancashire)
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