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Wolves find pain relief at minus-166 degrees

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Wolves find pain relief at minus-166 degrees

Wolves find pain relief at minus-166 degrees

Wayne Ellington and his teammates liked cryotherapy treatment so much in Dallas that they've asked the Timberwolves to purchase a tank to use at Target Center.
(Courtesy Kevin Love via Twitter)

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Joan Niesen was born and raised in St. Louis and completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University. After graduating with a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri, she interned at Sports Illustrated and the Dallas Morning News.
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January 27, 2012

Courtesy Anthony Tolliver via Twitter

Courtesy Anthony Tolliver via Twitter

Courtesy Kevin Love via Twitter

While in Dallas, (from top) Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and Anthony Tolliver tweeted pictures of themselves in a cryotherapy tank.

Greg Smith-US PRESSWIRE
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Show and tell

Whether bitter or sweet, sports stars love their tweets. Here are the best tweets of 2012.
MINNEAPOLIS — With eight healthy players, all aching from too many minutes and too few days off, the Minnesota Timberwolves resorted to what looked like a space-age solution Tuesday night in Dallas.

Giant metal tanks and puffs of chemical steam, gloves and socks and hazard labels — this was supposed to be the cure?

Several Timberwolves tweeted pictures of teammates undergoing a treatment called cryotherapy, in which they spent three minutes standing in what appears to be a misty metal vat. The treatment, performed at CryoUSA inside of Texas Sports Medicine, is one of the newest crazes in pain management among athletes and has similar effects to that of an ice bath.

In the spirit of this season, a year when what should be a week of games is compressed into four or five days, players like rookie forward Derrick Williams enjoy cryotherapy for its speedy results. After stripping down to only a bathing suit or shorts, gloves and socks, players enter the chamber and experience four blasts of liquid nitrogen, which creates the steam or mist that seems to rise from the chamber. Then comes 3 minutes of temperatures as low as minus-166 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's over.

"The 3 minutes, that's all you've got to look forward to," Derrick Williams said. "An ice bath is 15 to 20 minutes. No one wants to sit in there that long."

Kevin Love and Williams said at Friday's shootaround that their chambers were set to about minus-150 degrees Fahrenheit, and both players cringed as they remembered the cold. Williams, who's had the treatment several times before, said it's something he looks forward to but more for the effects than the experience itself. Love described it as "tough, very tough."

Love said that after getting out of the chamber, his body temperature rose precipitously for about 10 seconds, making him feel great post-treatment. And though scientists say the long-term repairing effects of cryotherapy chambers are inconclusive, they do release endorphins and provide immediate relief from strenuous workouts.

"You actually feel pretty refreshed when you get out of there," Love said.

The treatment does have its risks, though. Players can't work out or shower beforehand because any perspiration or water on their skin will freeze in the chamber, causing frostbite. In fact, last summer Justin Gatlin, an Olympic sprinter, got severe frostbite on his feet from wearing damp socks during cryotherapy. As a result, he missed the finals in the 100-meter dash at the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Despite stories like that, the healthy Timberwolves who tried cryotherapy enjoyed it so much that they decided they want a chamber in Minnesota. They've been vocal about that since their treatment on Tuesday, and their many tweets and Twitter pictures were undoubtedly another way to show the team how much they enjoyed the experience.

Chambers like the ones the Timberwolves used in Dallas would cost about $50,000 for a team to install, said Todd Kramer, the operations manager of US Cryotherapy in Roseville, Calif. Both the Bulls and the Lakers have visited Kramer's treatment center, which uses a different kind of chamber that is electric, rather than nitrogen-based, and can cost about $190,000 per unit. Those chambers, however, cost less to maintain over time and envelop the whole body.

Williams said he hopes the team will get its own chamber within the next couple of weeks or month. When asked whether he might invest in one with his new contract money, Love laughed.

"I'll wait," he said. "We'll see if the Timberwolves get one."

Perhaps that's the first request of Love's new contract, and if it's truly easing the sore feet of a strained lineup, it's not hard to see why he and his teammates might want one.


For_Never_Ever
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Jlv2012
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Damn, that's

almost as cold as Minnesota.

river09
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Nah global warming had us

Nah global warming had us above freezing even for a couple days this winter.. it's been crazy warm..

river09
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And I don't understand all

And I don't understand all the negs for For_Never_Ever that is a pretty interesting article..

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