Brooks Laich on RGIII and wearing a knee brace: ‘It’s different’

September 19, 2013

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

There has been a lot of media chatter about whether Robert Griffin III’s knee brace is affecting his playing ability. You can take or leave the opining, and RGIII is certainly on the “leave it” side of the fence. But when an actual athlete who has actually worn a brace during play talks about it, it’s worth paying attention.

Enter Caps forward Brooks Laich, who offered his take during a call with the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.

“Two years ago I had a knee injury and I wore a brace for three months, and I should have been out but I played through it with a brace,” Laich said. “It’s different, guys. It’s just absolutely different. When you’re used to making cuts and, he’s a guy – and I  work on my skating on the ice – and he’s a guy that on the field, he wants to go anywhere at any given time. He doesn’t run routes, he wants to be able to cut back, he is completely free when he runs. And when you put that brace on, same as when you put it on me on the ice, it’s just limiting. You just can’t do the same things that you’re used to doing. And then outside of that you’re also — because you have the brace on — you’re also worried about contact. I can take the contact, but can I really lean into it. If somebody’s coming to hit him, can he really lean back into that guy, or is his knee gonna give out a little bit? You always have that in the back of your mind. You can’t get rid of it.

“And then, when our season ended, I told my trainers, ‘I’m taking this brace out to my backyard and burning it. I can’t stand it,’” he continued. “But he’ll get used to it. I think he’s gonna wear it all year long, is what he said, but he’ll get used to it. It takes some time, but I really hope he gets going. He’s as determined as anyone.”

I don’t think there’s any argument that RGIII is more determined than anyone to prove that he’s the same player he was last year. But perhaps he might want to hold off on racing Pierre Garcon for a bit.

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Dan Steinberg · September 19, 2013