Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III tore his ACL and LCL in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs last year—a devastating injury, to be sure. After successful surgery and nothing but green lights thus far in his rehab, he's shooting for a return by the beginning of training camp.
Mike Jones of the Washington Post—a Redskins insider and a man who regularly speaks with the players—spoke with Griffin III on Thursday and reported RG3's intent for a return by training camp:
ACL injuries aren't what they used to be.
Ten years ago, a player who suffered an ACL tear was in danger of never returning to the same high level of play (see: Terrell Davis). This isn't the case anymore, as men like Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson have recently proven.
The surgery was performed by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, who also did the work on Peterson's knee. After Griffin's surgery in January, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on the projected time line for RG3's return, per his sources close to the situation:
"Griffin's recovery is projected at six to eight months, barring any setbacks, sources said...Under this projected time frame of surgery, recovery and rehab, Griffin should be able to participate at some level during training camp in August and be ready to open the season in September, according to the sources."
It's important to note that nobody—not RG3, not Dr. Andrews and not Mike Shanahan—has ever made any sweeping declaration about Griffin's return. Even in his latest interview with Jones, Griffin remained level-headed about what is in store for him this upcoming season:
"If I’m ready to go Week 1, then I’ll play. If I’m not ready to go, then I can swallow my pride and not play. It’s that simple. That’s what I talked to coach, I said I’ll be honest with him and if I feel like I’m ready to go and there’s no doubt in my mind that I can play, then I’ll be ready to go. But if there’s an ounce of doubt or a minor setback, then I won’t play."
What we're really discussing here isn't a certainty—it's a goal.
It's better for Griffin to have lofty goals than to doubt himself, his doctors or the procedure. Shanahan, for one, appreciates the fact that his young quarterback is a goal-oriented player, per Jones:
Griffin is a special player. Everyone can see it, including his coach, the organization and his fans. Everyone involved in his recovery understands the benefit of precaution as it relates to keeping him around for the long haul.
Nobody wants to see RG3's legacy cut short before it ever has a chance to take off.
If there were any indications that Griffin's knee was responding poorly, his recovery would necessarily slow down. As SI.com's Peter King noted on Wednesday, that's certainly not the case:
At this point, there's no reason to believe RG3 won't be back in time for training camp. He's not coming back too soon—his recovery is simply coming along beautifully.
This is great news for Redskins fans.
Griffin changed the fortunes of the team in one season with an NFC East divisional crown after fans experienced four straight seasons of misery without a franchise quarterback.
Even better, he hasn't even begun to tap into his full potential as a pocket passer.
The future is bright for RG3 and the Redskins. His recovery is right on track, and so long as he doesn't experience any bumps in the road between now and July 25, he'll be good to go for the start of training camp.
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