10/26/2009 12:00AM

Lava Man gets doctor's OK

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Lava Man, who is being prepared for a possible comeback after a 15-month absence from racing, received a clean bill of heath at a central California equine clinic over the weekend, trainer Doug O'Neill said.

Lava Man, the seven-time Grade 1 winner who has earned more than $5.2 million, underwent a nuclear scan and other tests at the Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic and was scheduled to return to O'Neill Hollywood Park stable this week, the trainer said. Since returning to Hollywood Park last month, Lava Man has had four workouts.

"They nuke-scanned him, and he was perfectly clean," O'Neill said.

Lava Man was observed by Dr. Doug Herthel. After he was retired from racing in July 2008, Lava Man underwent a stem cell procedure conducted by Herthel where cells that can promote healing and regenerate healthy tissues were extracted from his bone marrow and injected into another area of the body, in this case his ankle, to regenerate cartilage.

Herthel requested that O'Neill send Lava Man to Alamo Pintado.

"From my own piece of mind, I wanted to send him up there and go through a battery of tests," O'Neill said.

O'Neill said he has no set plans for a comeback race for Lava Man, but is hoping to start the 8-year-old gelding during the Hollywood Park fall meeting, which runs from Nov. 13 to Dec. 20.

"I'll keep working him every eight or 10 days," O'Neill said. "We know he loves Hollywood."