How Much Should RG3's Knee Concern Redskins Fans?

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IJanuary 6, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 09:  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins scrambles with the ball against the Baltimore Ravens in the second half during a game at FedExField on December 9, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The story surrounding Robert Griffin III's knee injury was given a new twist Saturday, and the worries that have mostly dissipated about the Redskins rookie quarterback are certain to be revived before Washington's Wild Card Round matchup with the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.

The new story, however, shouldn't conjure any new concerns over Griffin III's still-healing knee.

Originally, the story from Dec. 9 went something like this. 

Griffin, while scrambling in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens, received a violent collision between his knee and Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata. In obvious pain, Griffin III limped off the field, but returned one play later and stayed on the field for another four plays before exiting. 

Backup Kirk Cousins entered, Washington came back to win in overtime and all early indications from the Redskins coaching staff was that Griffin III's injury wasn't serious. 

In fact, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan told reporters on Dec. 10 that he and renowned sports physician James Andrews had this brief conversation about Griffin III returning, according to Robert Klemko of USA Today:

He's on the sidelines with Dr. Andrews. He had a chance to look at him and he said he could go back in, "(I said) 'Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?'

'Yeah, he can go back in.'

'Robert, go back in.'

That was it.

However, Andrews gave Klemko a different version of that conversation Saturday. According to Andrews, no such conversation even happened, and he didn't even get a chance to examine Griffin's injured knee before he raced back into the game.

He didn't even let us look at him. 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.

Of course, that was almost a month ago. Griffin III has since missed a game, strengthened the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) through physical therapy and employed a brace to ensure no further damage happens to either the LCL or any other part of the knee.

Despite the necessary precautions taken since Griffin was finally shut down on Dec. 9, Andrews remains concerned about the health of his knee. 

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.

A month after the fact, Klemko's story looks much worse for Shanahan and his relationship with Andrews than it does for Griffin's knee. One side of that story is obviously fabricating the truth.

But for Griffin, the knee shouldn't be of great concern now. 

His injury was classified as a Grade 1 LCL tear, which is the lowest grade a knee tear can receive. The ligament received only small partial tears, instead of complete tears and knee instability that are associated with a Grade 3 diagnosis. 

According to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Grade 1 tears can be treated with "rest, wearing a brace, taking pain relievers such as ibuprofen and having physical therapy." Griffin can likely check off each of those therapies over the past month. 

Andrews says in the story that he has cleared Griffin to play and that the knee is able to pass functional tests. Those words are the telling ones in this story regarding Griffin's knee.

But like any good physician, Andrews remains worried about the recovery of an injury while a player continues to play.

However, this story isn't one that should be a sizable worry for Redskins fans in the present. While troubling a month ago, Griffin is cleared to play and nearing 100 percent in the knee.

The conversation here should center around NFL coaches and team doctors on the sidelines—two entities who are obviously not on the same page in many instances—and not on Griffin's knee. The latter conversation is one for a different space and time.