A person familiar with the second-year quarterback’s physical and mental health said this week that Griffin’s knee — the same in which he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in 2009 and then this past January suffered damage to his lateral collateral ligament, ACL and meniscus — “feels great,” and that Griffin believes that he has done everything possible to meet his stated goal of returning for the opening of camp. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized by the Redskins to speak publicly on the matter, said Griffin continues to run and cut without pain or limitation.
However, the decision on whether Griffin receives the green light to practice this week rests with James Andrews, the sports orthopedic surgeon who serves as a team consultant and spends every game on the Redskins’ sideline. Andrews, who has met with Griffin periodically to monitor his process since conducting his surgery in January, will examine his knee extensively Wednesday. He will determine then just how ready Griffin really is to return to the field, and relay that opinion to the Redskins. The Redskins declined to make Andrews available for interview for this story.
If Andrews determines that Griffin isn’t ready to practice fully, Washington could place the quarterback on the physically unable to perform list. That would prevent him from practicing while he further strengthens his knee with running and other drills under the direction of the team’s trainers.
“When the doctors feel like he’s ready to go, we’re going to get a chance to practice him. We’ll see what he can do,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said in June just after the team held its final offseason practice session. “I don’t think anybody knows, though. We talk about this question every day and nobody knows for sure, but we’re trying on July 24th or 25th, in that area, and we’ll find out.”
A player on the preseason PUP list can be activated at any time, so such a designation wouldn’t block Griffin from his ultimate goal of returning in time to play in the Sept. 9 season opener. Last season, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a torn ACL on Dec. 24, 2011, started training camp on the PUP list. Two weeks later, he began practicing. Peterson didn’t play a preseason game but made a remarkable comeback, playing in all 16 regular season games and rushing for 2,097 yards, just nine shy of the single-season rushing record.
Still, those close to Griffin said the quarterback is adamant about not missing any training camp practice time. At the same time, however, he has prepared himself mentally for all scenarios.