Season Is Over, but Pain Lingers for Redskins

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Redskins starting defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin limped gingerly through the parking lot at Redskins Park yesterday before signaling to a team staff member to drive his maroon Hummer H2 to him.

"If there were a game next week," Griffin said, "I wouldn't be playing."

As the Redskins' offseason officially begins, Griffin was a main worry for coaches, particularly Joe Gibbs. But there are no fewer than a dozen Redskins -- seven of whom are starters -- facing some degree of offseason surgery or desperately hoping to avoid it.

Griffin left Saturday's 20-10 loss to Seattle with 3 minutes 57 seconds remaining because of an injured right knee and did not return. He arrived at Redskins Park yesterday with the results of an MRI exam of the knee that revealed a grade-three strain of the medial collateral ligament, which constitutes a partial tear, according to Director of Sports Medicine Bubba Tyer. Tyer and Griffin said the injury would not require surgery, news that pleased Griffin, who added that he played most of the season with a partial tear of his groin. That injury caused him to miss three midseason games against Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Oakland.

"What I need is a month, maybe two months of rest," Griffin said. "But, no, no surgery."

The offensive line, however, appears to be in for a difficult offseason. Starting center Casey Rabach will have surgery to repair a torn labrum and his backup, Cory Raymer, will undergo the same surgery, Tyer said. Starting right guard Randy Thomas, already on crutches after breaking his right leg on Dec. 18 against Dallas, believes he might need left labrum surgery as well, though Tyer did not think so.

Thomas's injury situation is a potentially serious one. Over the next few weeks, he will have screws removed from his leg, where the fracture is being stabilized. Should he also require shoulder surgery, he would not be available until mid-June at the earliest. Tyer said that the recovery time for labrum surgery is four to six months.

Meanwhile, starting left tackle Chris Samuels is heading to Honolulu for his third Pro Bowl, but will have surgery on his right knee and possibly an elbow.

"We'll try to get those done next week or the next week, and, of course, Chris Samuels is playing in the Pro Bowl and when he comes back he'll have his knee and elbow looked at with the idea that we may scope that and clean those out," Tyer said.

Tomorrow, right tackle Jon Jansen will have surgery on his right thumb, an injury he has played with for most of the season. "It shouldn't be anything major," he said. "But it will definitely be nice to be able to play without the pain."

James Thrash left Redskins Park yesterday with a cast on this right thumb, an injury suffered against Tampa Bay 10 days ago, while running back Clinton Portis played the last few weeks of the season in increasing pain, suffering from a left wrist injury and a sore shoulder. Tyer said neither would require surgery. It was something of a reversal for Portis, who said after the Dallas game that his wrist injury would require "some attention" in the offseason.

Defensively, Tyer said the Redskins' medical staff was once concerned about middle linebacker Lemar Marshall's knee and whether it would require surgery. Yesterday, Marshall said he was contemplating seeking a second opinion on both knees.

But Tyer said the Redskins' staff did not think Marshall would require any kind of knee surgery, but the team would seek a second opinion on the shoulder injury Marshall suffered last month.

Defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who broke his right forearm in the Redskins' 17-10 playoff win at Tampa, said he will need about a month more of rest to before he comes out of his cast.

"March, I don't know," Wynn said about when he would be ready for voluntary workouts. "But not far from that."

Meanwhile, Tyer said that starting right cornerback Shawn Springs would not undergo any off-season surgery on his injured right groin. Springs had been playing with the injury for the final five weeks of season, missing the first playoff game against the Buccaneers. Springs was given permission to remain in Seattle and miss yesterday's exit meeting and physicals to attend the funeral of former Seahawks defensive back and coach Dave Brown, who died last week while playing basketball with his family.

Defensive tackle Joe Salave'a says he will attempt to avoid surgery for as long as he can. Salave'a played through left plantar fasciitis, and said he performed "self-surgery" that allowed him to play through the injury. He also appeared to have been playing with a fractured toe.

"These guys [Redskins' medical staff] are so cautious," Salave'a said. "They don't let you do anything. I understand it, but every person has different thresholds. Some people can take more pain than someone else. If I could play, there was no way I wasn't going to play, so I did a little surgery myself. I'm okay."

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