Quarterback Robert Griffin III will be examined Tuesday by orthopedic surgeon James Andrews who will further evaluate Griffin’s right knee, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.
Griffin underwent an MRI exam after Sunday’s 24-14 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field. But Shanahan said the results of that exam are open to interpretation because of previous injuries to the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in Griffin’s knee.
Griffin was playing with a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in that knee. He aggravated the injury in the first quarter but persuaded Shanahan to allow him to remain in the game before leaving for good in the fourth quarter after his knee buckled and he fell to the turf as he tried to handle a low snap. Shanahan said Monday he continues to believe he made the right decision by leaving Griffin in the game.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Griffin will be accompanied by Reskins owner Daniel Snyder to Pensacola, Fla., where he will be examined at the Andrews Institute for Orthopedics and sports Medicine.
“Any time there are old injuries, you need to do a physical exam. … When I find out the extent of it, I’ll let you know,” Shanahan said.
Griffin initially sprained his knee four weeks ago against Baltimore and missed the following game. He returned to action against Philadelphia. Shanahan said then that team doctors told him there was no risk of further injury to the knee.
Griffin has been playing with a bulky brace on the knee that has limited his mobility. He aggravated the knee sprain late in the first quarter of Sunday’s game, as he planted on his right foot and tried to throw back across his body to receiver Pierre Garcon in the end zone.
Griffin played the next 2 1/2 quarters and was largely ineffective as the Redskins’ offense stalled. In the fourth quarter, his knee buckled as he chased a loose ball that resulted from the bad snap, and Griffin left the game for good.
Shanahan said Griffin was examined after the first quarter re-injury and that doctors told him Griffin could continue to play. The coach also said that Griffin continually told him that he was still able to execute at a high level, and that he believed his rookie had earned the right to have a chance to win the game.
But debate has swirled throughout the sports world about whether Shanahan should have pulled Griffin from the game. Shanahan said Sunday night that he would “probably second-guess myself” for not removing Griffin sooner.
By all measures, Griffin, 22, produced an historic rookie season in 2012, setting NFL rookie records for passer rating (102.4) and rushing yards by a quarterback (815). In the Redskins’ locker room, his combination of confidence and humility earned him immediate respect and led his teammates to vote him a captain nine weeks into the season.
But Griffin’s season was also notable for the toll it took on his body. He suffered a concussion in a Week 5 loss to Atlanta, which kept him out for most of the second half of that game. Though he did not miss any additional games because of that injury, Griffin vowed to be smarter when it came to sliding or ducking out of bounds to avoid direct hits.
After his knee sprain, `Griffin was not the same quarterback who electrified crowds and earned offensive rookie of the month honors in both September and November. The Redskins’ win over Dallas in the regular-season finale, which clinched the team’s first NFC East title in 13 years, was Griffin’s worst passing performance of the season, statistically, as he completed only 9 of 18 passes for 100 yards and a season-low 66.9 passer rating.
On Sunday night, he was 10 of 19 for 84 yards, with a quarterback rating of 77.5. He also ran five times for 21 yards.
Griffin tore his ACL as a sophomore at Baylor in 2009, on the first offensive series of the Bears’ third game of the season, but played the remainder of the first half before he was removed from the game at halftime. He had surgery to repair the tear and missed the rest of the season, but returned in 2010 and led Baylor to its first bowl game appearance in 16 years.
During his rehab, Griffin worked extensively on his arm strength — for a while, his father had him throwing passes seated in a chair — and emerged as a better deep-ball passer than he was before the injury.