Andrews denies Shanahan’s claims of lingering concern over Griffin’s knee

August 30, 2013

Doctors Anthony Casolaro and James Andrews watch Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III work out prior to the Redskins preseason finale in Tampa. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

A day after Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said that orthopedic surgeon James Andrews cleared Robert Griffin III for action but not without some lingering concerns, Andrews denied such claims.

Shanahan refused to say whether Griffin would play in the season opener on Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles, saying only, “There’s a couple concerns that [Andrews] has. I’ll talk to Robert over the weekend and let you guys know on Monday.” Asked what the concerns centered around, Shanahan only repeated that he would talk to Griffin over the weekend, and then would discuss the matter further on Monday.

Multiple people within the organization said Thursday night that the “concerns” weren’t significant enough to prevent Griffin from playing and that more than anything, Andrews wanted the Redskins to ensure that the quarterback had another strong week of practice, and that the team used Griffin wisely and did not subject him to unnecessary risks.

But Andrews denied all of those claims, saying via text message Friday afternoon, “None of it is true. No concerns.”

The same people who said the concerns wouldn’t prevent Griffin from playing also speculated that Shanahan merely wanted to plant some uncertainty in the minds of the Philadelphia Eagles as they begin their season-opening preparations next week.

Andrews on Thursday night gave Griffin clearance to return to full action nearly eight months after he performed the reconstruction of the right knee after he tore multiple ligaments in it in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 6.

After that Jan. 9 surgery, Andrews prescribed a seven- to nine-month recovery time for Griffin, who began rigorously rehabbing as soon as he got the green light.

Andrews in late July recommended the Redskins clear Griffin to begin practicing at the start of training camp. But Shanahan elected to wait another four days to make a decision, and then opted to clear the second-year pro after putting him through a workout of his own.

Griffin practiced on a limited basis – only seven-on-seven action – for the first two weeks of camp, and then progressed to 11-on-11 action in the final week of training camp.

Andrews on Aug. 19 examined Griffin for the first time since his checkup in July, and told the quarterback to “stay the course,” and if things continued to progress at the same rate, he would clear him for the season opener.

Andrews on Thursday did indeed clear Griffin, but that ruling didn’t come as a surprise. After watching Griffin thrive while taking every first-team snap in the past two weeks, teammates and officials all had confidence that Andrews would give the okay, and that Griffin would play Week 1.

While Shanahan didn’t declare Griffin the Week 1 starter, he didn’t rule him out, either. One person with knowledge of the situation said that Andrews wouldn’t have cleared Griffin had he still had some concerns about the health of his knee.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

What’s ahead:

● The second round of cuts, due by 4 p.m. Saturday, requires rosters to go from 75 to 53.

More about the Redskins:

Who’s in, out and on the bubble for the final 53 | Your best guesses

White wants to continue in NFL | Royster not sure if he’s made roster

Five observations Chris Thompson makes strong bid for punt returner job

The Takeaway: The Redskins have a punt returner; fingers crossed at safety

Andrews clears Griffin to start Week 1 | Backups make their cases in 30-12 win

D.C. Sports Bog: Snyder on doing the right thingMore Bog

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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