The NFL Players Association announced Friday that it had decided not to initiate a formal investigation under the sport’s collective bargaining agreement of the Washington Redskins’ handling of the knee injury suffered by quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The union conducted an informal inquiry this week and concluded, according to a person familiar with the findings, that Griffin never played in a game after being diagnosed by doctors with an injury too severe for him to continue playing.
The Post’s LaVar Arrington wonders if Robert Griffin III will ever be the same quarterback after suffering another knee injury in the Redskins’ loss to the Seahawks and offers his injured pinky as a small example of this type of damage that a body can absorb during a career in football.
The informal inquiry by the union did not deal with the issue of whether Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan should have permitted Griffin to continue playing in last Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks after reinjuring his right knee.
“The report essentially showed that his medical diagnosis and the treatment that he received after diagnosis were good,” the person familiar with the findings said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because union officials made only limited public comments about their conclusions.
“It showed that he did not return to play in any game after he was diagnosed with an injury [with which] he could not play. The difference between playing hurt and playing after a doctor tells you that you can’t play, that’s what the focus is here.”
The person said that union officials did not “feel like it’s appropriate [for them] to take a position on” Shanahan’s coaching decisions during Sunday’s game. The union felt that it “got swallowed up in this Shanahan debate” without intending to be involved in that issue, the person said.
Griffin underwent surgery Wednesday in Florida to have tears of the lateral collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee repaired. He exited Sunday’s defeat to the Seahawks at FedEx Field after reinjuring his knee late in the game. He was playing in his third game since suffering a mild sprain of the LCL in that knee during a Dec. 9 game against the Baltimore Ravens. Shanahan has received widespread criticism for allowing Griffin to remain in Sunday’s game after reinjuring his knee in the first quarter.
The Redskins declined to comment through a spokesman about the conclusions reached by the union. Union officials declined to be interviewed about their findings after releasing a written statement through a Web site affiliated with the NFLPA.
The union probe amounted to the closest thing there is likely to be by a governing body in the NFL about how the Redskins handled Griffin’s injury. The union has the right under the CBA to demand a formal investigation if it feels that a player’s medical care has been handled improperly by a team. If the union had exercised its right to initiate a formal investigation, that inquiry would have been conducted by two or more independent doctors appointed by a joint committee on player safety operated by the league and union.
The union stopped short of criticizing Shanahan’s decision to allow Griffin to continue playing Sunday. But Thom Mayer, the union’s medical director, said in a written statement on the union-affiliated Web site: “The quality of medical care [Griffin] ultimately received is only one part of this.”