Robert Griffin III receives clearance from James Andrews to start for Redskins in Week 1

August 29, 2013

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III received clearance to play in the regular season opener from orthopedic surgeon James Andrews after one final workout and examination Thursday night.

“I did talk to Doctor Andrews, and Doctor Andrews, after talking to him, he’s going to approve Robert to play,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said after the Redskins’ 30-12 victory over the Buccaneers.

Andrews gave his stamp of approval after watching Griffin go through a pregame workout that lasted roughly 30 minutes. Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen, head trainer Larry Hess and several other members of the team’s medical staff also watched the quarterback as he threw dropback and rollout passes to wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss.

That workout took place after Griffin ran a series of wind sprints with 21 other veterans who had been ruled out for the preseason finale.

After his workout, Griffin and Andrews walked off the field together and headed to Washington’s locker room. The doctor then examined Griffin’s knee and shortly thereafter informed Griffin and the team of his decision to clear him to play.

Shanahan said Andrews cleared Griffin but added that the surgeon said there were “a couple of concerns that he had. I’ll talk to Robert over the weekend, and I’ll let you guys know on Monday.”

Shanahan declined to say what the concerns were. Asked whether Griffin would start Week 1, Shanahan only reiterated that he would talk to Griffin this weekend and then share more details Monday.

Asked about Shanahan’s comments on Andrews’s concerns, Griffin — as he walked out of the locker room and headed for the team bus — only confirmed he had been cleared and said he would be sitting down with Shanahan over the weekend.

Several people within the organization said the “concerns” weren’t significant enough to keep Griffin from playing against the Eagles and that Andrews mainly wanted Griffin to have another strong week of practice and the Redskins to use him wisely.

Griffin made the initial announcement of his clearance from Andrews. As soon as he got back to the locker room after watching his teammates play the Bucs, Griffin tweeted, “Operation Patience. . . . Complete. Cleared. To God Be The Glory.”

When Griffin takes the field Sept. 9, it will be exactly eight months since he had his right knee reconstructed after he tore ligaments in Washington’s playoff loss to Seattle. Andrews originally prescribed a recovery of seven to nine months, and Griffin always maintained confidence he would return by the Philadelphia game.

Griffin’s clearance doesn’t come as a surprise, particularly after Tuesday, when Redskins officials and players came away from the quarterback’s last two practices leading up to his examination by Andrews with confidence he would receive clearance for Week 1. One person described it as a “done deal,” and others viewed the checkup merely as a formality.

The Post Sports Live crew discusses why fans should be excited that the Redskins roster for the 2013 season is similar to last season's. (The Washington Post)

“We’ve seen him in practice every day, so I always thought he’d been cleared,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “I didn’t know he was still waiting. Of course, it was great to have him back. That goes without saying. He’s the heart and soul of our offense, so of course, with him, we can do some big things.”

Throughout the preseason, Shanahan had said Griffin would start Week 1 as long as the second-year quarterback and his surgically repaired right knee progressed without a setback.

Griffin never suffered any swelling or soreness. However, a degree of uncertainty lingered because Andrews, who conducted Griffin’s knee reconstruction on Jan. 9, had yet to give the green light. Andrews, after an examination July 22, recommended the Redskins clear Griffin for practice at the start of training camp. But he didn’t see the quarterback again until Aug. 19, when he attended the Redskins’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That night, Andrews watched Griffin go through a 90-minute workout prior to the game, then examined his knee, checking it for structural soundness and strength.

After that checkup, Andrews told Griffin to “stay the course” and that if he did, he would clear him to start in Week 1.

Griffin did continue his improvements and impressed his coaches with his execution as he took every first-team snap in the past two weeks.

“I’ve done all I can. I can’t say that enough. And I’m leaving it all in their hands to go from here,” he said.

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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