Griffin sustained a nasty blow to his right knee at the tail end of a run while he directed a potential game-tying drive with less than two minutes to play. Griffin came off the field for one play, and then re-entered, taking four more snaps, before his knee locked up on him and rendered him useless.
That was the start of the knee injury that has hampered Griffin in the final month of the season and hobbled him in the playoff loss to Seattle.
The day after the injury, which was classified as a sprained LCL, Shanahan said he consulted Andrews (and that the doctor had examined the player) on whether or not Griffin could re-enter the game.
Andrews in an interview published Sunday in USA Today, said that not only did he not clear Griffin for re-entry to the game, but that he never examined him.
Asked about the discrepancy in accounts, Shanahan on Sunday offered this explanation.
“Well, after the game we talked in detail. When he went back into the game at that time, I looked over at Dr. Andrews, he said, ‘Yeah, he’s ok to go back in.’ Of course I’m sitting there trying to evaluate Kirk Cousins’ play, so when someone says he’s OK… Well, what Dr. Andrews is talking about, when I talked to him today, he said, ‘Hey, Robert came around and he started showing us he could run; he was sprinting around and then he just took off, so I just figured he was OK. I didn’t go through a thorough examination of him until after the game.’ I wasn’t really sure in what detail he was talking about at that time. He felt Robert – just looking at him run and then take off – that he was ok to go back in. I looked at him for the next three plays, the first time he had Santana [Moss] shell across, the next time he threw a little out-round, and it looked like his footwork was good. But you could see on that last one, where he hit Pierre Garçon, that when he stepped into the pocket that it wasn’t right. At that time Pierre caught it and he was trying to kill the clock, but we were going to take him out at that time, and that’s when Kirk came in.”
Andrews, when reached by phone on Monday, concurred with Shanahan’s account.
“Coach Shanahan didn’t lie about it, and I didn’t lie,” Andrews said Monday afternoon. “I didn’t get to examine [Griffin’s knee] because he came out for one play, didn’t let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field. Coach Shanahan looks at me like, ‘Is he OK?’ and I give him the ‘Hi’ sign as in, ‘He’s running around, so I guess he’s OK.’ But I didn’t get to check him out until after the game. It was just a communication problem. Heat of battle. I didn’t get to tell him I didn’t get to examine the knee. Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game.”