RENTON, Wash. — Seeking help to reduce the discomfort from patella tendinitis in his knee, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice jetted to Europe to try to find a solution.
Not exactly an easy trip to make in the early stages of training camp.
"It was something I set up earlier in the offseason a little after the OTAs and it was a long process, things I had to go through with the doctors over there," Rice said. "I was just fortunate that coach gave me the opportunity to go over there and get it done and thankful for my teammates not making a big deal about leaving practice, leaving them here in camp and going and getting it done. I'm grateful to be in a good organization like this to go handle that."
Rice was back on the practice field Friday, although he was just a spectator as his teammates went through a scrimmage as they prepared for their preseason opener next Thursday night at San Diego. Rice caught a few passes on the side and coach Pete Carroll said he is expected to return to practice on Sunday.
It's been whirlwind week for Rice, who went through the first few days training camp before flying off to Switzerland and missing three practices in the hopes of finding relief for his knee.
"Everything went great, exactly as they hoped," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "We'll see what happens as he progresses, but hopefully it was a good move for him."
The treatment Rice sought was a plasma injection that has been used by other athletes, including Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. The goal is to stimulate healing in areas experiencing pain and Rice is hopeful the procedure will reduce the discomfort the tendinitis is causing in his knee.
The treatment is not available in the United States, forcing athletes to go overseas. Rice made the decision to seek the treatment after discussions with Sam Ramsden, the Seahawks director of health and player performance. Rice first inquired shortly after the offseason team activities concluded in the spring and it turned out the only opening the Swiss clinic had to treat Rice was at the start of training camp.
"(We) thought it would be a good idea. Couldn't do nothing but help. That's the worst thing. Might as well give it a try and see where it goes," Rice said.
Rice flew about 10,000 miles — flying commercially he said — spending two nights in Switzerland for a treatment that lasted only 20 minutes. The results are not immediate. He said it'll likely be at least two weeks before he starts feeling anything different, but will be taking significant notes about how his knee is feeling after each practice.
He's expected to do some running on Saturday while the rest of the team gets the day off, with the hope that he returns to practice Sunday.
"We have a little process to go through and see how it reacts," Rice said.
Rice has a lengthy injury history, whether it was hip surgery that limited his play in 2010 coming off a Pro Bowl season, or the concussions and shoulder problems that kept him to just nine games in 2011, his first season with the Seahawks. Last year, Rice started all 16 games for the first time in his career and led the Seahawks with 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns.
He hopes making the effort to travel to Europe pays off with another full season.
"You want to be out there on the field as much as possible and help your team win games. That's the best part about being part of a program like this, you get to battle with your teammates," Rice said. "(I'm) just hoping to be out there on the field as long as possible."