As Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III undergoes surgery this morning to repair, reportedly, both the LCL and ACL in his right knee, there are different accounts regarding the amount of time he’ll miss.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, who expanded the torn-ligament alphabet by adding ACL to the prior report of a torn LCL, says that Griffin will need six-to-eight months to recover. The Washington Post, citing a doctor who hasn’t treated or evaluated Griffin, says that the rehab time on an LCL tear can cover eight to 12 months.
The reality is that no one knows for sure how long it will, or won’t, take for Griffin to be ready to play again. In many instances, professional athletes heal differently, and far more quickly, than normal people. But there are all sorts of potential complications that can arise. Apart from the ever-present risk of infection (which slowed Tom Brady’s rehab in 2008), an effort by the athlete to push too hard can create setbacks.
Griffin surely will be tempted to duplicate the uncanny comeback demonstrated in 2012 by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. But for every Peterson, who came back better than ever after a 2011 ACL tear, there’s a Domonique Foxworth, who never was the same after ACL surgery in 2010, and who is now out of the game.
It’s important that someone take charge of Griffin’s rehab and manage his expectations and keep him from trying to do too much too soon. His stubbornness will at times serves him well. But it also has helped get him into his current mess.
Looking at Griffin’s situation more broadly, his rapid ascension to D.C. superstardom arguably has created an atmosphere in which his extreme popularity has made folks already unwilling to tell him anything he doesn’t want to hear. At some level, maybe that’s why coach Mike Shanahan didn’t pull Griffin from Sunday’s game after he clearly reinjured the knee.
It’s time now for someone far older than 22 to assume control of the situation, and to protect Griffin from his own desire to slam through any and all obstacles in his path. There’s a point where the warrior mentality must yield to common sense. While there’s a chance Griffin has very recently learned that lesson the hard way, the Redskins desperately need people in place who can help protect Griffin from himself once he is cleared to resume his football career.