Quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are staying mindful of the time his revised ACL reconstruction needs to heal as he works exhaustively to strengthen the muscles around his right knee, coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday.
"Robert works so hard that if hard work had anything to do with the recovery, he'd set a record," Shanahan said during a pre-draft news conference at Redskins Park. "That's the way he is. But we're dealing with ligaments. We're dealing with tendons. You can't rush that.
"But around his knee will be the strongest support group he'll have. If you have a guy that does that, works that hard, then he's got a chance to do something special."
Shanahan said that in response to a question about a comment he made to NFL Network earlier this month. He told the network Griffin "will set a record for coming back because that's how hard he works." Shanahan clarified his remarks, saying he meant the conditional statement he made Wednesday.
He cautioned against the dangers of rushing Griffin back to the field. Griffin on Jan. 9 had surgery to revise the reconstruction of his ACL and repair his lateral collateral ligament and medial meniscus.
"One thing I don't want to do is I don't want to see anything too quick," Shanahan said. "We're dealing with an ACL. That takes time. Mother Nature will take its course. The thing that you love about Robert is he's working the muscles around it, and he loves to work. He does everything we ask him to do and then some to get himself ready. But there's a time frame, and there's Mother Nature that's involved. That ligament takes time to heal."
Griffin's progress has spawned optimism that he will ready to play the season-opener against Philadelphia on Sept. 9, the expected timetable for his recovery.
Shanahan seems intent on being cautious about Griffin's health even after he returns.
Shanahan was reluctant Wednesday to revisit the decision to keep Griffin in Washington's January playoff game against Seattle after Griffin aggravated his knee injury during a pass on the Redskins' second possession. However, he indicated Griffin will never play unless he is fully healthy.
"If somebody ... might get injured, it's your gut to take somebody out," Shanahan said. "Sometimes it changes from year to year. I know mine does with different players. Every situation is different. Sometimes you make the right call. Other times you don't.
"At the end of the day, you're always hoping you learn from your mistakes, whatever they are. At the end of this year, we go into next year, one thing we will make sure of is that Robert never plays if he's not 100 percent."
Shanahan expects to get a better feel for Griffin's honesty about his health over time. He also believes Griffin will be a better judge of his health and get a better feel for Shanahan's decision-making in such situations.
Of course, Shanahan acknowledges aches and pains always prevent players from being 100 percent, so collaboration will be important.
Other injury updates
Shanahan updated the recoveries and rehabilitations of several players. Linebacker London Fletcher's elbow surgery "relieved a lot of tension," Shanahan said. Fletcher, who also had ankle surgery, has been working out in the weight room.
Running back Roy Helu suffered a setback to his left foot/toe injury about a week ago, but he might be ready for organized team activities next month. Tight end Fred Davis (left Achilles' tendon) will be evaluated during OTAs. There is no timetable for defensive end Adam Carriker's return after he suffered a setback in his recovery from right quadriceps tendon surgery.
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