An independent neurologist has overruled the Washington Redskins’ decision to clear Robert Griffin III to play in the preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday and has recommended that the quarterback undergo further testing over the course of the next two weeks.
Griffin sustained the concussion in the Redskins’ previous preseason game, a victory over the Detroit Lions on Aug. 20. He did not offer any updates on his status when speaking to reporters on Thursday, but the team announced that night that he had been cleared to face the Ravens.
“Per discussions with neuropsychologists and with Anthony Casolaro, we had anticipated yesterday that the patient would be cleared for full participation in game play this weekend,” said Robert N. Kurtzke, an independent neurologist, in a statement issued by the Redskins.
“However, upon further scrutiny today of the neuropsychology data, I agree with the neuropsychologist [who handled a review of Griffin’s cognitive testing] that he should be held from game play this weekend be retested in one [to] two weeks before a firm conclusion to return to game play can be made.”
With Griffin unable to play against the Ravens, it appears that Kirk Cousins, who was scheduled to enter the game in relief of Griffin at some point in the second half, will make the start. Given the timetable recommended by the neurologist, and coach Jay Gruden’s plan to keep the Redskins’ starters out of the preseason finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 3, it seems as though Griffin’s preseason has ended.
The decision could also potentially put Griffin’s availability for the season opener on Sept. 13, at home against the Miami Dolphins, in doubt.
“Trusting in God even when I don’t understand why certain things happen,” Griffin wrote on his Twitter account on Friday night.
Griffin sustained the concussion with 9:31 remaining in the second quarter of the game against the Lions when, upon fumbling the football, he dove to recover it. Lions defensive end Corey Wootton made the same decision, making impact with Griffin’s upper body as a teammate recovered the ball.
He lay on the field for approximately three minutes before being helped to his feet and taken to the back for further evaluation. Gruden said after the game that Griffin sustained a concussion, which was the third such injury documented since his junior season at Baylor in 2011.
Griffin then entered the league’s concussion protocol, which implies that a player recovering from such an injury spend a full day resting, a second day working on his cardiovascular training and a third day returning to practice in a limited, non-contact manner.
Griffin, though, returned to a full practice on Sunday, participating in 11-on-11 team drills just three days after the game. Such a decision was condoned because, the team rationed, Griffin was not in a contact situation; by nature of the Redskins’ practices, quarterbacks are not able to be hit by any player.
The quarterback did not acknowledge having any recurrence of symptoms when speaking to reporters on Thursday, declining to answer any questions specifically referring to the nature of the concussion.
It remains possible that Griffin had not experienced any concussion-related symptoms in recent days and that he had only begun to do so in the past 24 hours.
He completed six of 13 passes for 44 yards during the preseason, playing a total of 32 snaps. He has not led the first-team offense on a scoring drive since his rookie season in 2012, though he likely would have completed a 61-yard touchdown pass in the preseason opener on the road against the Cleveland Browns had wide receiver Pierre Garcon held onto the ball at the 12-yard line.