Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III underwent surgery to fix his lateral collateral ligament and his ACL, a team source said, but it was not immediately known whether the ligaments were repaired or reconstructed. It makes a big difference in terms of his timetable and potential for playing in 2013.
Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery in Pensacola, Fla., said in a statement:
“Robert Griffin III had successful knee surgery early this morning. He had a direct repair of his LCL and a re-do 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. The goal of his treatment is to give him the best opportunity for a long professional career.”
Griffin had his right ACL reconstructed in 2009 after an injury while playing for Baylor. Because it’s the same knee now, that earlier surgery could complicate his recovery. There’s still questions about whether re-do means full reconstruction. If so, there’s a chance it will take longer for him to recover. Or, at the least, it could impact him down the road if he returns too quickly.
“The rehab is tougher because the knee tends to get stiffer,” said Dr. Richard Lehman of the U.S. Center for Sports Medicine. “It’s harder to get your motion back. You have to protect the knee from rotation post-op so the rehab is slower or quite a bit slower and what happens is instead of taking three or four months – which an LCL is probably three months and an isolated ACL might take three or four months – you combine them and because of the problems of motion it could take a year, 14 months. It could take longer to get it rehabbed and rehabbed appropriately.”
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 it 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. 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.
If Griffin escaped the worst case scenario and only needed the ACL to be repaired, Lehman said the timetable changes dramatically. Under that scenario, Lehman said Griffin would be ready for the season.
“It’s a much easier rehab,” he said.