It started out as a busy day for James Andrews, the Washington Redskins’ orthopedic surgeon. He’s been operating on Robert Griffin III’s knee. The entire fanbase is pretty much peering over the surgeon’s shoulder, holding its collective breath that the franchise quarterback will be okay, hoping that the team didn’t run him into the ground by playing him while he was clearly hurt.
But Andrews—one of the world’s top sports doctors—also has a new book out, published this week.
The title is, “Any Given Monday: Sports Injuries and How to Prevent Them, for Athletes, Parents and Coaches - Based on My Life in Sports Medicine.”
Prevention, yes, that would be good. Such as perhaps not playing a man who can’t walk. (I mean, we’re not doctors or anything, so we don’t really know, it’s just an idea.)
Let’s be clear: The RG III debacle aside, Andrews, 70, has a reputation that is as good as it gets. Sports Illustrated has named him one of the Top 40 most influential people in the NFL. He’s not only the team doctor for the Redskins, but for the Tampa Bay Rays, the University of Alabama and Auburn University. Brett Favre, Bo Jackson and Charles Barkley blurbed his book; Kirkus calls it a “gold mine of contemporary cautionary information.”
We read it, while chewing our nails during RG III’s surgery, so you don’t have to.
His example of the Worst Football Injury of All Time is....Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann! This is, in the current context, not well timed. He’s referring to the gruesome, career-ending sack by Lawrence Taylor late in the 1985 season. It broke both the bones in Theisman’s lower leg. The replay has been making grown men scream out loud for 28 years.
Andrew’s takeaway? The play is “a lurid reminder of just how important it is for a player to do everything he can to safeguard his legs in the game.”
How best to do that?
From page 106:. “Perhaps the most important advice I can offer is for parents to talk with trainers about any concerns about prevention strategies. By opening the lines of communication on the team, everyone can ensure the child has the best possible playing experience.”
Wait a second....what happened in the Baltimore game a few weeks ago, when RG III was first injured? And he ran back in the game, and then collapsed a few plays later? And Redsksins Coach Mike Shanahan and Andrews had different accounts after the game of how that happened?
“Coach Shanahan didn’t lie about it, and I didn’t lie,” Andrews told the Post earlier this week. “It was just a communication problem.”
Please be OK RGIII.