Interesting item generating some buzz this morning from USA Today Sports' Robert Klemko, who spoke with Dr. James Andrews about the day Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III injured his knee and about Griffin's ongoing recovery. Andrews disputes Redskins coach Mike Shanahan's assertion that Andrews cleared Griffin to return to the game after the injury:
"He didn't even let us look at him," Andrews said. "He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players, and took off back to the field. It wasn't our opinion.
"We didn't even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me."
As Robert points out, this contradicts Shanahan's account of the events of that day. In a news conference the day after that Dec. 9 game, Shanahan told reporters that he'd asked Andrews if Griffin could go back in and Andrews said yes. Griffin went back in for four plays before coming out for good, and he sat out the next week's game in Cleveland before returning in Week 16 in Philadelphia.
You could make a good living in sports if you could figure out who's telling the truth all the time -- especially with regard to injuries. What happened that day was scary to anyone watching, and obviously either Shanahan, Andrews, Griffin or all three of them figured out pretty quickly that Griffin couldn't stay in the game. What's potentially more alarming than the way decisions were or weren't made in the heat of that moment is this from Andrews, a little bit further down in Robert's story:
"I've been a nervous wreck letting him come back as quick as he has. He's doing a lot better this week, but he's still recovering and I'm holding my breath because of it.
"He passed all the tests and all the functional things we do, but it's been a trying moment for me, to be honest with you."
The risky behavior and apparent cover-up regarding Griffin's knee injury is even more curious when Andrews described the team's responsibility toward the rookie quarterback — "to make sure he's OK for the next 15 years," Andrews said. "That's what you have to watch out for for players, because they don't know."
Indeed they do not, which is why the Redskins have Andrews around and why Shanahan has continued to insist that he's letting medical folks dictate decisions regarding Griffin's availability to play. If there were any dispute going on between the Redskins' medical people and the Redskins' coaching staff about Griffin's playing status, and if the coaching staff were overruling the doctors and putting him on the field, that would be disturbing. It's hard to believe, though, given the level of investment Shanahan and the Redskins have made in Griffin, that they would prioritize a one-year playoff run over the long-term health of their franchise quarterback. Especially since they have a viable backup option in Kirk Cousins.
Andrews could just be expressing the sentiments here of an overly cautious doctor who's worried because of the significance of the circumstances. He does say Griffin has "passed all the tests," after all, and why have the tests if not to alleviate concern? Griffin will continue to play with his knee brace on for the remainder of this Redskins season, however long that is. If Andrews really doesn't think he should be playing, he needs to be expressing that strongly to the Redskins' coaching staff. And if he is, and he's being ignored, then why would he continue in his current role with the team?
Anyway, I can't tell you not to freak out when it comes to Griffin and the knee. I know how important he is to Redskins fans. But I also know how important he is to the Redskins, and I find it hard to believe they're playing fast and loose with his health against the advice of a doctor as significant as Andrews.