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Play or Sit: the coaches’ quandary
NEW YORK (AP) - At some point, an injured player, even a star like Robert Griffin III, is too hampered to help a team. Deciding when enough is enough is the problem.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan became the target of widespread criticism after Griffin reinjured his right knee in Sunday’s 24-14 wild-card loss to Seattle. The questions have ranged from whether Shanahan made his sensational rookie’s health his No. 1 priority to whether the protocol for dealing with injuries was followed.
Coaches who have been in such tricky situations say the solutions aren’t complicated.
“You have to rely on the doctors, the health always has to come first,” said Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy. “If the doctor says he can go or he can’t go, you don’t argue, there’s not even a discussion.
“If the doctors say, `Here are the limitations, he can go,’ then you have to judge for yourself. How is he mentally? How limited is he physically?”
Dungy recalls many times when players wanted to go and he had to say no. While coaching the Buccaneers, Dungy told Warren Sapp he wouldn’t be suiting up for a national TV game against Miami because Sapp had cracked a bone in his hand.
Sapp wanted to wear a splint, but team doctors said it was too soon for him to play.
“If you ask the player, it means nothing. It’s rare a player will tell you he can’t do this or this or that.”
Not exactly the way some coaches would have handled it.
“You never put a player in harm’s way,” said Herm Edwards, who defended how Shanahan handled the situation during his ESPN show.
By John R. Bolton
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