Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III reportedly will have surgery later this week to repair a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee and to determine whether the ACL in that knee is damaged, according to multiple national outlets.
A Redskins spokesman would not confirm the reports. Coach Mike Shanahan did not return a phone message or answer multiple calls. ESPN was first to report the news.
The spokesman left open-ended the timetable for announcing any results of the testing Griffin underwent Tuesday under the guidance of renowned orthopedist James Andrews.
The reports mean Griffin faces a months-long rehabilitation that at least jeopardizes his participation in the Redskins' offseason program and possibly could cause him to miss some of the 2013 season.
Surgery to repair a completely torn LCL requires four to six months of rehabilitation, and ACL reconstruction surgery requires approximately six to nine months, according to Williamsburg, Va.-based orthopedic surgeon Daniel Carr, who served as the United States Olympic Team's head physician at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
If Griffin's ACL and LCL are completely torn, the timetable for his recovery likely would be six to nine months, although his rehabilitation initially would be more complex than if he tore one or the other, said Carr, who has not examined Griffin.
The Redskins fear Griffin's ACL was damaged late in Sunday's playoff loss to Seattle. His knee buckled and bent awkwardly when he leaned down to pick up a fumble in the fourth quarter. He was unable to complete the game.
Griffin flew to Pensacola, Fla., Tuesday along with some team officials to visit Andrews at his institute there. Because Griffin tore the ACL in 2009, and because he played the final three games of this season through a mildly sprained lateral collateral ligament, Andrews sought to evaluate him more extensively to clarify the results of the MRI exam he had after Sunday's game.
He aggravated the pre-existing knee injury in the first quarter of the game. Shanahan, however, said team doctors cleared Griffin to return.
Griffin insisted on returning, and Shanahan allowed him to, saying Griffin had earned the right to determine his status because of how well he played during his rookie season and his knowledge of his own body.
Shanahan has been heavily scrutinized by local and national media for allowing Griffin to remain in the game.
If Griffin's ACL is completely torn, he would require his second ACL reconstruction procedure. The ligament was reconstructed in 2009 using a patellar tendon graft.
"That's, in my mind, the gold standard," Carr said.
A patellar tendon graft almost certainly would not be available for a second reconstruction, Carr said. Andrews, then, could use a graft from Griffin's quadriceps tendon.
"It heals in well and there's minimal deficit as far as the athlete getting back and playing again," Carr said. "That has worked really well. Some people use that as their primary graft now since it's been so good."
Regardless of whether a quadriceps tendon, hamstring tendon or donated tendon is used for the graft, a knee in which the ACL has been reconstructed twice can suffer long-term effects.
"Your best chance of the best results, if you have to have an ACL, is always the first one, not necessarily the second one," Carr said.
"I would tell you I think there would always be a difference on that knee. The players he plays with and the players he plays against may not notice that, but you as a physician and trainer in examining that athlete will always sort of say, 'Wow, it's a little different than what it was.'"
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