Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III reacts after getting injured during the fourth quarter of the NFC wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks at FedEx Field.(Photo: Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports)
Jim Corbett, USA TODAY Sports
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will have surgery to repair a tear of his right lateral collateral ligament on Thursday or Friday, and James Andrews, the surgeon, will determine at that time if there is additional damage to the anterior cruciate ligament, Griffin's former coach at Baylor, Art Briles, told USA TODAY Sports.
"They're going in to tighten up the LCL and look at the ACL," Briles said Tuesday. "And hopefully, there's not much if any damage to the ACL. If there is, they'll fix it. The future is bright, because I know Robert. I know his heart, I know his passion. And he'll be fine."
A person with knowledge of Griffin's injuries told USA TODAY Sports three doctors have looked at Griffin's MRIs and have not been able to determine the full extent of his injuries and whether the injuries revealed by the MRI are new or old. That person requested anonymity because the Redskins have not made the disgnosis public. Griffin is expected to have the surgery performed in Pensacola, Fla.
Griffin had a torn ACL repaired in 2009, while playing for Briles. The Baylor coach, like the Washington Redskins and their fans, is keeping his fingers crossed that there is no new damage to the ACL.
"It'll have a good ending," Briles said. "I'm very optimistic about the ACL."
And if it turns out the ACL must be repaired, which could mean Griffin would miss the 2013 season?
"Then, you face it, you work hard and you get better," Briles said.
Apparently, Griffin suffered at least an LCL tear when his knee buckled in a wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Griffin came into the game with a sprained knee in a brace, aggravated the injury in the first quarter, then gruesomely twisted the knee again in the fourth quarter, when he collapsed to the turf and was forced from the game.
That episode is why the Redskins should brace for the worst, a leading doctor said.
"That looked like an instability episode with a high chance that there would be some damage to the ACL," Neal ElAttrache, orthopedic surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "Any other arm chair doctor, knowing that kind of buckling episode, you wouldn't be surprised."
ElAttrache is not just another Monday morning quarterback playing doctor. He's the former Los Angeles Rams team orthopedist and as a current consultant to the St. Louis Rams, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers. He is one of the country's most renowned orthopedic surgeons.
ElAttrache repaired Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's torn ACL and MCL suffered in New England's 2008 season opener.
Brady not only returned to win the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year Award, but he earned league MVP honors in 2010.
Briles, however, bases his hope on Griffin's recuperative powers. He witnessed Griffin's comeback from an isolated tear of the right ACL three games into Griffin's sophomore season.
"Robert will do what he always does, he'll rise again," Briles said. "He just attacked that ACL tear, which is what he's done with everything he's ever been involved with, intellectually or athletically.
"Whatever it is, come next fall, Robert will be Robert. Whatever the outcome winds up being, he'll attack it just like he attacks everything else -- with a lot of fearless confidence and great effort."
Briles added: "The thing about Robert and all great athletes is that they're extremely competitive."