Mark Adickes, the former Washington Redskins lineman turned orthopedic surgeon who performed reconstructive surgery on Robert Griffin III’s right knee in 2009, predicted Thursday that Griffin could return from his latest knee surgery in time for the Redskins’ 2013 regular-season opener and would make a full return to his 2012 pre-injury level of play.
“I would think eight months would be the number,” Adickes said when asked to estimate when Griffin might return to action. A timetable of eight months would put Griffin’s return in early September 2013, around the time the Redskins would open the season.
Asked about a potential return to Griffin’s pre-injury level, Adickes said, “I think his knee is going to be rock-solid and he’ll be able to be the guy we saw this year.”
Griffin, the Redskins’ 22-year-old rookie quarterback, underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a torn lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, as well as a revision of the anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction that Adickes performed in 2009, when Griffin was a sophomore at Baylor. The surgery was performed by renowned orthopedist James Andrews.
Adickes, who is based in Houston, was not involved in Griffin’s latest surgery, but has consulted with Redskins medical personnel and has been in close contact with Griffin’s family.
Adickes revealed two additional aspects of Griffin’s surgery that the Redskins did not address in the statement they released from Andrews on Wednesday, the only public comments regarding Griffin by anyone associated with the team.
According to Adickes, Griffin also was found to have suffered a slight tear to his medial meniscus, which Andrews was able to repair. In addition, in order to reconstruct the torn ACL, Andrews took a portion of bone and tendon from Griffin’s left (healthy) knee and grafted it to his right knee – a fairly common procedure for a revision of an ACL reconstruction.
Adickes said Griffin may have some discomfort in his left knee and will have more trouble getting around on crutches because of the left knee surgery, but that neither the meniscus tear nor the left-knee graft would lengthen his recovery time.
Although Griffin’s most recent surgery was more serious and involved than the original ACL surgery in 2009, Adickes’s personal history with Griffin leads him to believe a return by September is entirely possible.
“He was back on the field doing non-contact stuff [in 2009] within four months,” Adickes said. “I think this time, he could be back doing non-contact stuff in six months.”
That would take Griffin to July, “and would give him a month to get legs under him in training camp,” Adickes said. “I wouldn’t expect him to play in the preseason at all. But it wouldn’t be out of the question for him to be back for the first preseason game.”
Other sports orthopedists not involved in Griffin’s care and with no specific knowledge of Wednesday’s surgery have estimated Griffin’s return at between eight to 12 months, and several doctors have suggested Griffin may not be able to make a complete return to his previous level of speed, agility and explosiveness.
But Adickes said Griffin could not only make a complete recovery, but could come back even as an even better quarterback, at least from a mental standpoint.
“Frankly, he was so much better on the mental side of things when he came back from his ACL [in 2009], I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an even better Robert Griffin,” Adickes said. “I’m very confident that when he gets back on the field he’ll be the same guy we saw this year, and from a mental side we’ll see an even more mature and accurate passing quarterback.”
Adickes had not spoken to Griffin himself as of Thursday evening, but had spoken at length to Jacqueline Griffin, his mother, and got a sense of Griffin’s emotional state from her.
“I think Robert was optimistic and hopeful the surgery could be a smaller surgery. I think he was hopeful it would maybe be just a knee scope,” Adickes said. “But he knew it was possible it would be an ACL and a meniscus and an LCL. When he woke up and both knees were operated on, and everything had been done – I think that was very difficult for him to deal with.
“But I know the kind of man he is and know he’ll turn it all around and focus on getting his legs strong and getting back on the field and making a full recovery.”