Robert Griffin III might see his former Redskins teammate, linebacker Jonathan Goff, at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine during his right knee rehabilitation in the coming weeks.
Goff, you’ll recall, re-tore the ACL in his right knee during Redskins training camp practice on July 29. Dr. James Andrews revised the ACL reconstruction in Goff’s right knee last August using a patellar tendon graft from Goff’s left (healthy) knee. That’s the same method with which Andrews revised the reconstruction of the ACL in Griffin’s right knee on Wednesday morning.
Goff, 27, had ACL revision surgery and his meniscus repaired. He did not have any lateral collateral ligament damage, though, so he did not require the exact surgery as Griffin. However, five months removed from the same type of ACL revision, Goff knows a lot about what Griffin will experience while rehabilitating his ACL for the second time, as well as the healthy knee from which the graft was taken.
“You have to pay a little bit more attention to that leg,” Goff said Thursday about the patellar tendon graft removed from his left (healthy) knee. “They’re just taking out a chunk from your knee, so it’s not the best feeling in the world. But since the beginning, it has been strong and sturdy. It’s just that there’s a fair amount of pain management and soft-tissue work that you got to do to keep it moving.”
Goff has been at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Fla., for five months since his surgery. Griffin similarly is expected to stay in Florida for weeks to begin his rehab. The institute has good relationships with local hotels, which presents athletes with suitable housing options. Former Redskins running back Tim Hightower lived at a nearby hotel for an extended period in late 2011 and early 2012 after Andrews performed his ACL reconstruction surgery.
“They have a great staff down here; a great experience,” Goff said. “They have got a great attitude as far as getting athletes back to where they need and want to be in order to pursue all their athletic endeavors.
“The facilities are great here. They’ve got a pool that you can run in and get your pool workouts in. They’ve got everything you could want and need to get back into playing shape.”
Goff likes how he has worked with the same two trainers for the entirety of his rehab. That setup allows those trainers to measure his progress.
“I think that’s pretty standard for what they do, so you see the same people every time,” he said. “I think that helps them help you more.”
A normal day for him consists of rehab sessions before and after lunch. There’s a mental component to the rehab, too, especially going through the process for the second time. Goff believes his experience during his first rehab is benefiting him the second time.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s easier, but knowing what to expect, I think, can put you at an advantage,” Goff said. “You know that saying, ‘It’s not your first rodeo?’ It’s exactly that. You know what to expect. You have a really good idea of a lot of the things that you’re going to be doing and also how far you can push yourself and know what is too much. You know the difference between working hard and overworking and working smart.”
Goff has accepted the fact he’ll have to manage his knee for the rest of his career.
“I wouldn’t say it’s mentally taxing or frustrating at all,” he said. “As a football player, the longer you play, the more you’re going to have to do in the offseason to keep yourself healthy throughout the entire season. And even then, with the NFL being a 100 percent injury rate, nothing is guaranteed.”
No guarantees. That’s important to keep in mind as Griffin progresses through rehab against the countdown to the start of the 2013 regular season.
As for Goff, he’s a free agent. He hopes to catch on with a team and try out this summer. He expects to be cleared in time for the start of teams’ offseason programs.
“Six to nine months,” he said. “That’s what they told me, and I’m on track for that.”