Regardless of what team you root for, no one could watch Robert Griffin III’s knee injury in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ Wild Card loss to Seattle and not feel at least a pang of sadness. Seeing the player who revived what had been a dead Washington franchise and been as outgoing and effervescent as any rookie in NFL history writhing in agony on the FedEx Field turf was heart-wrenching to witness. The tests that confirmed everyone’s worst fears — that he had torn multiple ligaments in his knee, the ACL and LCL — were almost a mere formality.
The level of sadness, however, may still wreaking havoc in the form of overly optimistic projections for the young quarterback’s recovery. RGIII underwent surgery to repair the torn ligaments on Wednesday morning and was immediately reported to be on track to return for the start of the 2013 season. Such a prognosis must have been music to the ears of distraught Redskins players and fans, but let’s all take a step back and look at this.
Doesn’t it seem a little too optimistic to think that Griffin can be back to even 85% in just 8 months? Bear in mind, this is the second time that he has torn his right ACL — in fact it wasn’t really his ACL at all. The first time it happened was back in his freshman season at Baylor in 2009, and in the surgery to replace it, a portion of the patella tendon in the same knee — which is four times stronger than the natural ACL — was grafted onto the area to replace it. That tendon tore through completely this time so it couldn’t be repaired, which meant that they took the same piece of the patella tendon from his left knee to essentially re-do the surgery, while fixing the LCL directly. That means that Griffin will not only be rehabbing his right knee for the two repaired ligaments, but also his left knee to compensate for the weakened patella tendon. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that his rehab will take any longer, but it does intensify the road ahead of him.
But even if this was his first such injury, the 6-8 month recovery period that has been reported is still on the low end of the spectrum. While it’s true that ACL surgeries and recovery are becoming more and more advanced and subsequently reducing the length of recovery time, remember that Adrian Peterson’s surgery last year happened almost two weeks earlier than Grffin’s, and even with a recovery process that amazed the medical experts in its brevity thanks to him being a physical freak, he still needed a full 8 months to get back to full strength and was unable to play in any preseason games.
You can’t use Peterson’s recovery time as a basis for projecting anyone else’s, let alone someone who’s facing a more grueling process.
Not only that, but Griffin’s injury is worse because a) it’s his second ACL tear and b) the LCL recovery will take longer than Peterson’s MCL because of the comparatively lesser amount of blood flow to the ligament. The bottom line is that you can’t use Peterson’s recovery time as a basis for projecting anyone else’s, let alone someone who’s facing a more grueling process.
The fact that it’s his second one also means that the Redskins have to be even more careful with him, because a third would be nearly impossible to come back from. They must err on the side of caution when it comes to putting him back on the field. One thing that they learned from this process is that, like most athletes, RGIII’s competitive fire dwarfs his willingness to take care of himself, as evidenced by his reported insistence that he felt his knee was fine as the playoff game was unfolding. So even if he’s in Mike Shanahan’s office this summer telling him that he feels great, the coach can’t succumb to temptation and roll the dice by putting him back on the field.
The ‘Skins know that starting Kirk Cousins for a few games in September isn’t going to be the end of their season. So as much as they and their fans want to believe that RGIII will be good to go by the end of training camp or the preseason, it’s highly unlikely, and even then the best long-term interests of both quarterback and player should have him coming back midseason.
Fan Hub Action
Michael T Carr May 16th
Another good article, Craig Lowell.
Charlie Lobosco May 1st
This is a very compelling story because Mr. Collins is a very passionate, tough, intelligent, athelete taking on some additional responsibliity to help others as…
Scott Cohen May 1st
Charlie.. very well said.. he does have guts
Scott Cohen May 1st
but it shouldn’t require guts. .like you said it’s nobody’s business but his own
Hisham Zameeth April 30th
best player ever…..
Kareem Musa Mayowa April 29th
We don’t need to be hopeless about the situation bryant his. Because even david villa situation also up to the level of his own to…
Maritess Lim April 28th
I still believe in KOBE’s power…… He is still the best…… He will make it possible no matter what……
mimi_aragon84 April 28th
I feel no pity for him. First of all, it is EAGLE, COLORADO, not Eagleton, secondly he enjoyed success and adulation from fans from 2003…
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