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Dr. James Andrews: Mike Shanahan didn’t lie about RG3’s knee


Dr. James Andrews, the renowned orthopedist who caused a stir when he was quoted as saying that Redskins coach Mike Shanahan put quarterback Robert Griffin III back in a game against the Ravens without Andrews’ clearance, has now changed his tune.

Although Andrews’ quotes to USA Today contradicted Shanahan’s account of why Griffin re-entered the Ravens game after suffering a knee injury, Andrews told the Washington Post on Monday that his comments to USA Today were misconstrued.

Coach Shanahan didn’t lie about it, and I didn’t lie,” Andrews said. “I didn’t get to examine [Griffin’s knee] because he came out for one play, didn’t let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field. Coach Shanahan looks at me like, ‘Is he OK?’ and I give him the ‘Hi’ sign as in, ‘He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.’ But I didn’t get to check him out until after the game. It was just a communication problem. Heat of battle. I didn’t get to tell him I didn’t get to examine the knee. Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game.”

It’s hard not to be skeptical that Andrews is changing his story because of the backlash to his previous comments, which were published less than 24 hours before Griffin suffered another injury to the same knee. And even if this new version of events is accurate, it still doesn’t reflect well on the care NFL players are getting on NFL sidelines from Andrews and other doctors. Team doctors are there to use their medical expertise to keep players safe, not to shrug their shoulders and say, “He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.”

Griffin has no complaints about his care: He insists that he was OK to be on the field. But Griffin is a competitor who would surely play through torn ligaments, broken bones and concussions if the team and the doctors would let him. The NFL and the players’ union should be investigating why the Redskins let Griffin keep playing.

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75 Responses to “Dr. James Andrews: Mike Shanahan didn’t lie about RG3’s knee”
  1. aliquickk says: Jan 8, 2013 8:45 AM

    How about because it’s football, which is an animalistic sport to begin with? These guys know the risks.

  2. goskinsvt says: Jan 8, 2013 8:46 AM

    This isn’t the first time Dr. Andrews has backed up on statements he made regarding Washington sports teams…

  3. millertime30 says: Jan 8, 2013 8:47 AM

    Perhaps Mr. Dan Snyder gave Dr. Andrews a nice ‘Shut your pie hole” bonus

  4. gpry says: Jan 8, 2013 8:48 AM

    Uh Oh your giving the Mara’s another reason to take away cap space…

  5. electionconfidential says: Jan 8, 2013 8:50 AM

    There are a lot of murky and suspicious statements coming out of Washington. Apart from the decision to let him play there’s the question of the team telling the truth and what I’m hearing doesn’t have the ring of truth to it. That knee has been bending in unnatural ways off and on over the last month.

    I think he’s had a tear in there of some kind and they’ve just let it get worse. Whether they made the right decision(s) or not they have a responsibility to report injuries faithfully…

  6. packerbackernj says: Jan 8, 2013 8:51 AM

    Andrews realized you shouldn’t say anything ill about your golden goose.

  7. waitingguilty says: Jan 8, 2013 8:53 AM

    Yes, by all means lets get De Smith involved. Seriously?

  8. skins44 says: Jan 8, 2013 8:53 AM

    And the truth comes out. I don’t like how everyone is jumping down Shanahan’s neck for this or not pulling him out of the playoff’s. If he pulls him, we ask “what if” and we crucify him for putting in Cousins. If RG3 pulls himself out, we treat him like Cutler when he took himself out of the playoffs. It was a no-win and ultimately it should be up to the player if he thinks he can go. They get paid a lot of money to perform. You see what happens when players take themselves out and you bring in a backup. You can lose your job like Alex Smith did in San Fran.

  9. digbysellers says: Jan 8, 2013 8:54 AM

    There’s really no need for him to backtrack on his comments so I’m kinda surprised. The Redskins need him more than he needs them. I’m quite sure that one of the best ortho surgeons in the entire world would be ok if he didn’t stand around on the Redskins sideline anymore.

  10. KL0313 says: Jan 8, 2013 8:55 AM

    Robert is a warrior who would sacrifice life and limb for his team. He led the Redskins from irrelevance to Division Champions. At no point before he came out of the Playoff game did he look like he couldn’t protect himself. If Shanahan took him out before that, RG3 would’ve been left with the question “what if?” for the rest of his career. It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.

  11. ravenator says: Jan 8, 2013 8:55 AM

    For such a smart kid, he shouldve known that was stupid.

  12. seeptermean says: Jan 8, 2013 8:55 AM

    Instead of ripping on Shanahan and Andrews, more attention should be paid to the fact that RG3 didn’t let them evaluate his knee and went back into the game 1 play later. At some point regarding concussions and all these other injuries part of the onus has to go on the players.

  13. nygiantsfan22 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:00 AM

    Is it just me, or is it time for Dr. Andrews to stay in the office?

  14. bigredgoog says: Jan 8, 2013 9:02 AM

    1) I really would like to see the video to see if what is being said is true. I still think Shanahan indicated there was a full conversation with dialog and everything, not just a “hi” sign.

    2) Except for concussions, a player should have final say on whether he is willing to assume the risk (known and unknown) of going back on the field with an injury. The coach should simply make the call whether “Emmit Smith” is better with a slightly separated shoulder than the second stringer. It is up to the “Emmit’s” to decide if they want to play through the pain or not.

    We have to realize that doctors don’t know everything. If they or teams are going to be held accountable for injuries their only advice from a self-preservation point of view is Don’t Go Back In. If you relieve them of liability they can give unvarnished advice “I think there is little danger of further damage, it’s just going to hurt like heck” or “Your hamstring is likely to tear if you keep going and you’ll be out two months”.

    Of course doctors don’t know these things with certainty in the few minutes or seconds they get to look at an injured player during the game.

  15. FinFan68 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:03 AM

    Team doctors are there to use their medical expertise to keep players safe, not to shrug their shoulders and say, “He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.”
    No. They are there to get players healthy enough to get back in the game as quickly as possible and to handle emergencies on the field. Safety is a byproduct not the intent.

  16. numbskull111 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:03 AM

    The only way to change a situation like this is change the rules to where injured players must sit out for more than one play (two or three plays minimum) to give the medical staff a chance to examine them.

    However, then players just won’t come off the field. They will scrape themselves off the turf and stay out there and potentially do more damage.

    These guys are grown men…at some point they need to take responsibility for their own health and careers.

  17. 1standinches says: Jan 8, 2013 9:04 AM

    Sounds like the Media cant get their story right.

  18. packattack1967 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:04 AM

    Shanny is a past-his-prime head coach with a highly caffeinated owner that got caught up in the hype. Hopefully he didn’t ruin a good kid. Leslie Frazier’s example should have been heeded.

  19. jayackroyd says: Jan 8, 2013 9:04 AM

    No, I don’t think they really know the risks. The NFL doesn’t bring in Earl Campbell to discuss post NFL life with rookies,the way they do financial advisers and social behavior advisers.

  20. randolph32 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:05 AM

    Much ado about nothing….

  21. kozmo50 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:06 AM

    I’m not blaming Shanny on this, NFL players … the man, will tell you that they would have done the same thing……it’s the media and NON football players and competitors and girls, that would have taken themselves out! Do you think that if Ben Rothlesburger was hurt and said that he was ok, that Tomlin would take him out? How about Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees? Hell no, they all would have stayed in to play!
    Then again, you end up like Jay Cutler and take yourself out of a game and get completely ripped by the fans and media and teammates, about how weak you are. It’s a no win situation, If I’m an NFL football player, the last thing I want to do is look weak!

    If you want to blame anyone, blame RG3 for being a tough competitor, and having a high threshold for pain (maybe from his Military family upbringin), but in the end it was his decision!

  22. bigjdve says: Jan 8, 2013 9:08 AM

    What is there to investigate. We all know why he was still out there playing.

  23. tuckernyg says: Jan 8, 2013 9:09 AM

    Earlier this season this guy suffered a concussion but managed to play the next game. Why am I just a bit skeptical now that he’d passed all the tests?

  24. raypinpillage says: Jan 8, 2013 9:09 AM

    Yeah, lets have a thorough league investigation. Sounds like a great idea that would yield unbiased results! Yay!

  25. mcconnellrules says: Jan 8, 2013 9:10 AM

    Because when your benched you have a chance of losing your job i.e., Alex smith

  26. bigdicebuddha says: Jan 8, 2013 9:12 AM

    BS! This is going to be a coverup of massive proportions.

    Let me ask you a question. When RG3 got an MRI immediately following the Ravens game, not the next day but immediately same night, the prognosis was “it’s clear, just a sprain”, correct?

    Now the MRI is “clouded” by previous injury. If it was clear 4 weeks ago, how is it clouded by previous injury today?

  27. HerculesHochuli says: Jan 8, 2013 9:13 AM

    Coach Shanahan looks at me like, ‘Is he OK?’ and I give him the ‘Hi’ sign as in, ‘He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.’

    Well its good Dr. Andrews was on the sideline then. I’m sure that the Redskins wanted him around to examine the knee AFTER the game not during. What a joke!

  28. mhs8031 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:16 AM

    Stop blaming the doctor. This is obvious. He was telling the truth the first time. Shanahan is a “win at all cost” coach-always has been. The doctor was obviously pressured to change his tune. Read between the lines and stop being gullible.

  29. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Jan 8, 2013 9:17 AM

    Unless thay get a hog O-line and make him more of a pocket passer RGIII won’t last but a year or two anyway. That’s just the way it is.

  30. footballfan58 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:17 AM

    And yet the players keep turning around and suing the league for not protecting them. Who’s is the no win situation????

  31. justafanofitall says: Jan 8, 2013 9:18 AM

    I feel all players should be evaluated when they are required to take one play off….just like concussions. It is for their own good. RG3 could possibly played his last game depending on how serious the tears are. Better look up AP.

  32. electionconfidential says: Jan 8, 2013 9:19 AM

    Obviously most people here think that it should be left to Griffin to decide what chances he wants to take. Fine. On the other hand there is “the team’s best interest” to consider.

    This is a franchise player who appeared to be in peril even to me. The doctor said the day before the game that it “scared the hell out of him” to see Griffin out there running around. How much more does management need to hear?

    Fact is that they left him out there too long and it is likely to negatively impact their next season. That remains to be seen of course, but this is one of the few places I’ve ever seen a team claim to put a player’s preference ahead of the team’s best interest.

  33. 3yardsndust says: Jan 8, 2013 9:24 AM

    What do you suppose it costs to have the actual Dr. James Andrews on your sideline for the whole game? Wow.

  34. fran021 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:26 AM

    Seems to me Great Big World Famous Orthopedic Surgeon James Andrews being on the Redskins sidelines is a little like Rex Ryan having his Sanchez tatoo. The guy is starstruck. Back to the office, James.

  35. mvp43 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:27 AM

    Ya right…..

  36. steelerben says: Jan 8, 2013 9:28 AM

    I think things are being taken a bit too far calling for the NFL and the NFLPA to investigate why a player refused to come out of a game when injured. Are we going to call for the NFLPA to investigate why Leftwich or Romo finished games with broken ribs? No? Because they aren’t as electrifying as Griffin?

    If the Redskins win that playoff game, is the conversation about how RG3 is a hero and tough as nails, or are we still talking about the league investigating?

  37. seeptermean says: Jan 8, 2013 9:33 AM

    jayackroyd says:
    Jan 8, 2013 9:04 AM
    No, I don’t think they really know the risks. The NFL doesn’t bring in Earl Campbell to discuss post NFL life with rookies,the way they do financial advisers and social behavior advisers.

    Although this is true, if these guys have the mental skills to play in the NFL they should also have the mental skills to weigh the evidence of injuries sustained in football in relation to long-term disability.

  38. hovenaut says: Jan 8, 2013 9:34 AM

    Time for a sit down with young Mr. Griffin III.

    Ain’t like he’s going to run off.

  39. papadukes22 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:36 AM

    Who cares he wanted to play….he knows his body more than anyone

  40. chattanola says: Jan 8, 2013 9:36 AM

    “Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game,” said Dr. Andrews.

    Whatta buncha bull. Does anyone following this story believe this??

  41. jamaltimore says: Jan 8, 2013 9:36 AM

    Nobody will care about Bob Griffin in three years when he’s out of the league or playing back up to Kirk Cousins or someone else in the league. A shooting star that rose quickly and has already begun fading due to injury. I like the kid but 2 knee injuries in 3 years, heisman curse and the fact that he plays on one of the worst run NFL franchises over the past 20 years doesn’t help my confidence. At least he got all the money he can from the endorsement deals he’s been doing and maybe somehow he turns it around.

  42. iceburgskin202 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:37 AM

    Any Given Sunday folks the team will look out for its best interest. The players have said we’ve seen it they will overlook any injury that isn’t to the head. It’s a shamefull way of doing business but its always been this way. NFL and player safety are 2 things that don’t belong in the same sentence

  43. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 8, 2013 9:38 AM


    I could not have said it better myself.

    I’m a Ravens fan, but with plenty of Skins fans friends. You all finally have legitimacy with Shanahan and Allen leading this franchise. And the hindsight and second guessing is at a level I can never remember.

    I don’t really like Shanny, but I’m starting to feel sorry for him.

  44. jm91rs says: Jan 8, 2013 9:40 AM

    Can we please be done with the RG3 Knee coverup conspiracies? Let us know the damage and the recovery time, but we don’t need to keep the “dr. andrews said this, RG3 did that, Shanahan is evil” crap.

    There are still 8 teams playing, let’s try talking about them.

  45. bdawk20 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:42 AM

    It wasn’t a concussion, it was a knee injury. If the player says he can play, then he plays.

  46. tannethrill says: Jan 8, 2013 9:44 AM

    I’ve been on this site since almost day 1.

    Why is everything on this site turning into a conspiracy theory?

    Andrews explanation sounds credible as well as realistic. It makes sense in terms of their separate comments.

    Instead of accusing everyone who has something to say of being liars why not just blame it on the aliens.

  47. edavidberg says: Jan 8, 2013 9:44 AM

    The bottom line is RGIII thinks being stupid is the same as being brave, and Mike Shanahan is too dumb to see what was going on.

  48. captaincolt45 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:45 AM

    What’s the point of sitting out a play if you’re not actually having your medical staff look at your most important player? Also, why the hell does Shanahan listen to RGiii as if he knows he’s okay? I want top to bottom wth kind of shape my franchise QB is in if im Coach Shan, c’mon, grow some and admit you neglected him when he needed you most, and RG too much of an athlete and iron will to say anything negative about any of the decisions.

    I mean I know Shan has madd years under his belt but where and when did rookie Robert earn your trust so much that he could decide for himself that he could continue a game with the poorest and heart wrenching performance play after play..? The fans and everyone on tv watch this BOY be taken advantage of by people with way more power to do the right thing and put in your perfectly capable backup QB.

    Not sure who to blame, or what excuse to make, but Robert (and shanahan) will finally have time to think about the decisions made and where it ultimately got them and this team.
    signed dc born raised burgandy and gold.

  49. sfm073 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:50 AM

    If a player wants to play then let him play. Didn’t Phillip rivers play on a torn acl? I really don’t get why people are making such a big deal out of this.

  50. cwwgk says: Jan 8, 2013 9:50 AM

    The epitome of armchair quarterbacking by the media.

  51. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Jan 8, 2013 9:51 AM

    I think the bigger issue is pumping fake crowd noise into FedEx field.

  52. raidernation210 says: Jan 8, 2013 9:57 AM

    fran021 says:
    Jan 8, 2013 9:26 AM
    Seems to me Great Big World Famous Orthopedic Surgeon James Andrews being on the Redskins sidelines is a little like Rex Ryan having his Sanchez tatoo. The guy is starstruck. Back to the office, James.


    His office is on the Redskins sidelines during games beacuse he is getting paid by Dan Synder to be there. Have a clue what you are talking about before running your mouth.

  53. francheyes says: Jan 8, 2013 10:00 AM

    Dr Andrews should play cornerback with those back pedalling skillz

  54. mungman69 says: Jan 8, 2013 10:12 AM

    How about the horrible field conditions? Does management really care about player safety?

  55. malvaren18 says: Jan 8, 2013 10:16 AM

    RG3 had no business playing, for that long in the game or at all, he is just starting his career he should of sat down.

  56. commonsensedude says: Jan 8, 2013 10:22 AM

    This whole episode is probably making the Giants’ John Mara salivate at the possible sanctions he can levy against his division rivals. He probably has Goodell on speed dial now. This time, he’s going to take away the Redskins luxury seats!

  57. wfmulder says: Jan 8, 2013 10:25 AM

    Isn’t this the same team that had their long snapper break his arm in the first game against the Saints in the first half then remained in the game, and PFT and every one else applauded him for his toughness and grit?

    So, is it the situation or the player involved? It’s ok for the long snapper to play hurt, he’s just the long snapper, but dont EVER let the franchise QB play hurt.

    Makes me wonder just how many of you actually played football, and I dont mean the backyard pick up games either.

  58. rtant2013 says: Jan 8, 2013 10:41 AM

    Hmm, where is everyone that talked crap about Shanahan when this story broke over the weekend? Like I said you can’t believe what the media tells you, they try to make a story out of anything they possibilly can

  59. toybkshr says: Jan 8, 2013 10:42 AM

    Story smells like 3 day old fish.

  60. kozmo50 says: Jan 8, 2013 10:43 AM

    Jack Youngblood played in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl XIV, with a broken leg.

  61. nfldtw says: Jan 8, 2013 10:53 AM

    Looks like someone either threatened or paid him off to say this. The NFL is still a joke when it comes to player safety. There has to be new protocol that puts subjective views away once and for all. Make a mandatory 5 minute Dr’s examination. Call a TO if you are worried about getting him back in the game fast enough.

  62. fanofevilempire says: Jan 8, 2013 11:29 AM

    no knee-d to waste time on this, the skins lost.
    who cares about RG Zero.

  63. rukkus1 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:10 PM

    Put him on a segway and start him week 1

  64. hooterdawg says: Jan 8, 2013 12:18 PM

    Though he is the team physician for the Redskins, I cannot believe that Andrews would risk his considerable reputation/brand in a coverup of the facts. That is exactly what he seems to be doing. What does he have to say about Sunday?

  65. maxl49 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:23 PM

    About time they got their ducks in a row !

  66. peytonsneck18 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:37 PM

    IRG3 is no franchise QB…fail!!!

  67. bluebongzilla says: Jan 8, 2013 12:37 PM

    Oh those Redskins! Laughingstocks even when they manage to win the division once every 15 years or so.

  68. kevinbnyc says: Jan 8, 2013 12:43 PM

    This is not the same as a concussion. He won’t die if he’s choosing to run around with a torn ACL. Everybody needs to relax.

  69. mjkelly77 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:47 PM

    The NFL and the players’ union should be investigating why the Redskins let Griffin keep playing.

    The players’ union should be investigating themselves as to why they re-elected Maurice Smith who sold the players down the river.

  70. thesportgenius says: Jan 8, 2013 12:51 PM

    The kid is electric but he won’t last long with his style of play and all the hits he’s absorbing. Nice bravado but he clearly could barely run and his passing was effected by being unable to plant a gimpy leg. Its the coaches job to sit him and go with the next man up.

  71. mjkelly77 says: Jan 8, 2013 12:52 PM

    You see what happens when players take themselves out and you bring in a backup. You can lose your job like Alex Smith did in San Fran.

    Alex Smith lost his job because Hairbough is a dishonest liar. Hairbough initially chased manning all over the country in an effort to sign him and then he later denied it. His original plan was to throw Smith under the bus. Then he eventually got the chance. I don’t know how any player could trust him.

  72. blueballz77 says: Jan 8, 2013 1:13 PM

    lol bye bye back to the basement you go fun while it lasted huh even Cleveland made the playoffs that one year

  73. darth71 says: Jan 8, 2013 1:15 PM

    The problem from this story is the media in DC have a problem with Shanny because he will not kiss their behinds. 106.7 is the main source behind all this hate . The Sports Junkies and Mike Wise are armchair qbs who need to shut up . RG3 got hurt. Its football .

  74. nyjetsfan08 says: Jan 8, 2013 1:40 PM

    If I have to believe Shanahan or a world renowned sports orthopedic surgeon, the BEST in the USA without a doubt, I’ll go with the doctor. It’s more important for him to have his patients TRUST him . Why would he lie? However, I do believe both were telling the truth and there was a communication problem. It makes sense.

    I understand that in the heat of the “battle”, there’s no time for a long conversation. “Is the player in or out”, says a coach to the team doctor. That’s it. Ask any coach or medical personnel on the sidelines. The coach doesn’t need a long-winded explanation. He’s coaching a game. If the QB can’t come in, fine, get the backup ready and queue up some plays. It’s very plausible, Dr. Andrews explanation, that is.

  75. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jan 9, 2013 2:13 PM

    Now what makes you think a guy in Washington DC woulod lie to us?

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