Full recovery expected for star quarterback

The surgery is over. The waiting, hand-wringing and guessing now begin.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III needed the ACL on his right knee reconstructed and the lateral collateral ligament repaired, putting him in jeopardy of missing the start of the 2013 season -- if not more.

Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery in Pensacola, Fla., said in a statement that Griffin had a direct repair of his LCL and a redo of his previous ACL reconstruction.

"We expect a full recovery, and it is everybody's hope and belief that due to Robert's high motivation, he will be ready for the 2013 season," Andrews said in the statement. "The goal of his treatment is to give him the best opportunity for a long professional career."

Neither Andrews nor anyone from the team was made available to discuss the surgery and the timetable for Griffin's recovery. Multiple messages were left for coach Mike Shanahan.

Had Griffin needed his LCL reconstructed, there's a good chance he would have missed some if not all of 2013. Also, because Andrews used a graft from Griffin's left knee, according to ESPN, then the quarterback will have to rehab that knee as well. But it's not expected to prolong his recovery. Regardless, it's a blow to the optimism that surrounded the franchise after a 10-6 record and their first NFC East title since 1999.

Many questions remain unanswered: How long will the recovery take? One estimate from Dr. Richard Lehman of the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine in St. Louis said based on the description of the surgery it could take six to eight months. But that also depends on how the joint surface looked when Andrews cut the knee open. At this stage, everything is just an educated guess.

Also, when exactly did Griffin tear his ACL? Was it torn at all before Sunday's playoff loss to Seattle? Or did Griffin tear it in that game -- he had two plays in which he got hurt, including with 6:25 left when he was helped from the field and did not return.

Griffin injured his LCL during a Dec. 9 game vs. Baltimore at the end of a third-down scramble when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata hit him as the leg was extended in the air. Griffin sat out a game but played the final three, including Sunday's playoff loss to Seattle. That's when he hurt it again. Griffin limped back to the huddle after a first-quarter play in which he planted and threw back across his body.

"I thought we made the right decision," Shanahan said Monday. "Robert is our franchise quarterback. We won't take a chance on his career to win a game. If I didn't think it was right, he wouldn't have been in there. It's just that simple."

Then, in the fourth quarter, he was sacked on a bootleg in which his leg bent back. On the next play, his knee buckled as he reached for an errant snap.

Griffin earned a Pro Bowl bid for his performance as a rookie, throwing 20 touchdown passes and only five interceptions. He injected life into a franchise that had struggled for the past five years, winning a combined 11 games in Shanahan's first two seasons.

Before the five-hour surgery, Griffin tweeted: "When adversity strikes you respond in one of two ways....You step aside and give in..Or you step up and fight."

And: "Thank you for your prayers and support. I love God, my family, my team, the fans, & I love this game. See you guys next season."