November 25, 2020

Griffin III to have surgery for LCL in right knee


week 18 griffin

Robert Griffin III relfects in waning moments of Redskins loss to Seattle in playoffs. (photo by Brian Murphy)

According to multiple sources, Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III, a likely Rookie of the Year candidate, will have surgery to repair a torn lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his right knee. According to the reports, doctors will also evaluate Griffin’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) to determine any damage to that part of the knee.

It’s the same knee he injured in college, which is making diagnosis and treatment that much more difficult. Griffin sat out for the most of the 2009 season after sustaining an isolated tear to his ACL in the first half of his third game, the third start of his sophomore year. Griffin originally reinjured the knee in a Dec. 9 game against Baltimore. He returned after missing one game, leading the Redskins to their first division title since 1999 and playoff appearance since 2007.

But in the first quarter of that playoff loss against the Seattle Seahawks, Griffin rolled right and tried to plant near the sidelines to make a throw. He went down in a heap, with his helmet rolling away on the play. Griffin had trouble getting up, eventually limping — noticeably — back to the huddle, before throwing a touchdown two plays later. He was ineffective the rest of the game, unable to generate any speed on his rushes or power behind his throws. In the fourth quarter he tried to make an athletic move to recover a poor shotgun snap and his knee simply gave out from underneath him.

After the game, Griffin was defiant about his status during the game. “I’m the quarterback of this team,”  Griffin III said. “My job is to be out there if I can play. The only time I couldn’t play was when I went down. I took myself out of the game. That’s just the way you have to play. Just to tackle the next question, I don’t feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way. I’m the best option for this team, and that’s why I’m the starter.”

Head coach Mike Shanahan agreed. “I talked to Robert and he said to me, ‘Coach, there’s a difference between being injured and being hurt.’ He said, ‘I can guarantee I’m hurt right now but give me a chance to win this football game because I guarantee I’m not injured.’ That was enough for me. I thought he did enough this year to have that opportunity to stay in the football game. It’s always a tough decision when to pull a guy and when not to. I talked to him at halftime and had to feel good about him to go back in.”

That decision was immediately questioned, even during the game as Griffin hobbled around the field, clearly not performing up to his capabilities.

Even a layman could tell Griffin’s health was compromised after the play on the sidelines. Watching the knee give out in the fourth quarter was heartbreaking to the legion of fans that have come to embrace this player and team once again. Those fans, along with team officials and Griffin himself can now only wait until the doctors do their job in determining how long the Skins will be without their talented signal caller and leader.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP


  1. Shanahan should be fired for not pulling Griffin from the Seattle game. He was hurt and he was ineffective. Regardless of whether Griffin wanted to play or not (and when is it now the player’s decision on whether he plays, isn’t that the coach’s job?), he was clearly hurt and ineffective. At the very least, Shanahan should have prepared Cousins and made the switch after halftime. What a disgrace.

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