A day after Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said orthopedic surgeon James Andrews had some lingering concerns despite clearing Robert Griffin III’s return to competion, Andrews denied having any hesitation about the quarterback playing in games again.
Griffin, who worked out in front of Andrews on Thursday night in Tampa before the Redskins’ final preseason game, announced the doctor’s verdict at 10:28 p.m. by tweeting: “Operation Patience . . . Complete. Cleared. To God Be The Glory.”
But after the game, Shanahan acknowledged Andrews’s verdict but refused to say whether Griffin would play in the Sept. 9 season opener 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 about those concerns, Shanahan repeated he would talk to Griffin over the weekend and would discuss the matter further Monday.
On Friday afternoon, Andrews denied all of those claims, saying via text message, “None of it is true. No concerns.”
Multiple people within the organization said Thursday night that even if there were “concerns,” they 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 would use him wisely and not subject him to unnecessary risks.
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 Eagles as they begin their preparations next week.
After Griffin tore multiple ligaments in his right knee in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 6, Andrews performed reconstructive surgery Jan. 9. Afterward, he prescribed a seven-to-nine month recovery for Griffin, who began rigorously rehabbing as soon as he received permission.
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, then opted to clear the second-year pro after putting him through a workout of his own.
Griffin practiced on a limited basis — in seven-on-seven drills — for the first two weeks of camp, then progressed to 11-on-11 action in the final week of training camp.
On Aug. 19, Andrews examined Griffin for the first time since his checkup in July and told the quarterback to “stay the course,” saying he would clear him to play in the season opener if things continued to progress at the same rate.
Indeed, that’s what happened Thursday, to the surprise of no one who had watched the Redskins practice over the previous two weeks. After watching Griffin thrive while taking every first-team snap in practice, teammates and officials had confidence that Andrews would give his approval and that Griffin would play Week 1.
While Shanahan stopped short of declaring Griffin the Week 1 starter, he didn’t rule him out, either. One person with knowledge of the situation said Andrews wouldn’t have cleared Griffin if he had any hesitation about the health of his knee.
In any event, Griffin’s teammates don’t seem to be obsessing over whether any such “concerns” truly remain.
“Y’all ain’t tired of talking about this?” wide receiver Santana Moss said Thursday night. “I had the same thought that I had in my mind when I came into camp. Whenever Coach says that he’ll be ready, we’ll be ready. Same thought, really hasn’t changed. We were preparing for him to be ready by Week 1.”