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Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

The official verdict on RG III's knee: Griffin underwent surgery this morning to repair torn ACL and LCL ligaments in his right knee. Team sources say that they expect him to be ready to play by Week 1 of the 2013 season. But will he be his usual self? It's hard to tell, with recovery time for ACL surgery getting shorter and shorter.

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82 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2013, 12:54pm

1 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Let's be honest about the recovery -- no one knows. He could get an infection. He could push his rehab too hard and have a setback. Best case scenario is that he can play Week 1, probably as a pocket passer with maybe an Aaron Rodgers level of mobility that will improve over time.

2 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Agreed that it's anyone's guess when he'll be back, and more importantly, when/if he'll be back at full strength.

I also wonder if the events that led up to this, and the backlash that followed, might make Wash a little more cautious in how quickly they rush him back onto the field. If he's questionable come Week 1, I'd like to see them play it a little safer this time around.

27 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

I'd argue that Week 1 is a wildly improbable goal...so much so it is irresponsible of the team to even float it out there. Wasn't AP's recover supposedly the quickest in history? That was 9 months. It'd be 8 if RG3 were to make opening week. On a knee that had been previous repaired.

I'm sure a good share of it comes from the Skins' desire to sell season tickets for next year, but they already (arguably) played him when he shouldn't have been and got him hurt. And now they're floating incredibly short estimations for his recovery putting pressure on him to return sooner than he should.

38 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

I don't recall the circumstances, but were the teams saying the day of the surgery for either of those guys that they'd be back for the start of the next season? It's one thing to have the guy recover quickly. It's quite a bit different to instantly pronounce it's expected to be a fast recovery.

If RG3's almost ready to start the season the pressure will be on to throw him out there just to hit the artificial timetable they themselves created. And if he's quite a ways off that timetable, the talk will instantly turn to how he's way behind in his progress. There's already going to be plenty of pressure for him to get back, I see no reason why the Skins should be further adding to that pressure.

4 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

My immediate thought is that unless the injury is some dire catastrophe (a la Robert Edwards), there is no reason to think he won't recover from this and be as good as ever. Things working in hs favour are, he's young, he's in excellent physical condition, he has the best ortho surgeon working on him, and he has an owner who will spare no expense providing everything he needs for a complete recovery.
I mean, there is always a doubt that he may not be able to recover to 100% of his old abilities, but I think we just need to wait and see, which is something the media is not willing to do. They're just salivating over the opportunity to turn this into a doom and gloom scenario, with what ifs and all sorts of possibilities, and who's to blame. And then when he pulls a Peterson and is completely recovered, they can runs months of stories about how incredible his recovery is, and what an amazing athlete and blah blah blah.

6 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

It has been fascinatng to me to hear and see the degree to which former NFL players and coaches, with a few exceptions, have circled the wagons around Shanahan, to defend his decision to leave Griffen on the field on Sunday. The most transparently ridiculous are those that yammer about how Griffen wanted to be out there, as if that has anything to do with it. Even the best rationalizations, however, which have tended to come from former qbs, have been pretty weak. I heard Dilfer yesterday start yesterday with the standard "The medical staff cleared him" explanation, and then when asked whether Griffin was playing well enough to be out there, fall back on (paraphrasing) "Well, he still had a successful scramble before the final injury" and (not paraphrasing) "He's the dude", as if RG3 was in his pajamas, swilling white russians. That made me start to think how much Shanahan resembles Steve Buscemi, and who on the Redskins coaching staff was Walter Sobchak.

Notably absent, of course, from Dilfer's rhetoric was any mention of the quality of Griffin's passes, because to do so would be to weaken the Cohen Brothers Theory of Quarterback Evaluation. Call me crazy, but when I see a guy who has greatly reduced mobility, is running with a pronounced limp, and makes a series of off-target throws that he normally makes, I'm going to assume that other athletic moves that the position requires, like, gee, I dunno, getting on a loose ball, may be beyond the player's capability, and that a guy in the number 2 slot who has helped me win a game that year may be the guy to now put on the field.

7 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Will:
I've been listening to Mike and Mike (don't judge, I'm in the car), and you are so right: every former player said essentially the same thing. Except, this morning, once the surgery news broke, I believe it was Schlereth who said "Obviously he should have come out earlier" which I believe is a) a 180 from what he said on Monday, and b) almost assuredly further results-bias.

8 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

I think a lot of these guys are stuck in the 1970s, or even the 80s, when the game was not nearly as passing accuracy oriented. If you saw a major league pitcher, in an important game, even a guy on whom not much money was being risked, limping around between pitches, and missing the target badly, you'd be shocked if the manager left him in, because everybody knows that a pitcher who has an injury, which greatly reduces his ability to throw strikes, isn't worth a damn in terms of winning that game. These guys seem to think there is toughness quotient which will make it tolerable, in the modern NFL, to have passes which are three yards off target. They are wrong.

9 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

another interesting baseball correlation made this morning: in baseball and basketball, you have guaranteed contracts, so you might be more likely to protect your investment (since you *will* be paying for a player with no knees). In football? sure, you've got upfront money, but with the new rookie contract structure, it's going to be lower, and you can cut the player (assuming the cap hit is meaningful).

It's a different age now; broadcasters and ex-players haven't adjusted to it, it seems.

11 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

In the case of Griffin, I'd argue that the draft value they expended in acquiring him, in a league in which a hard salary cap makes rookie talent extremely important to winning percentage, argues pretty strongly for a consrvative approach. If Griffin doesn't come back strong, and they don't get really lucky with Cousins, The Washington Snyders are screwed good and hard. Of course, if they have confidence in Cousins, that argues all the more for him being on the field in the 2nd half last Sunday.

31 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

No, that's the sunk cost fallacy. They are where they are: they need to maximize their success over the next few years. If Griffin were valueless, they shouldn't say "well we paid a lot for him," they should pursue better QB options. Doubly fortunately, he won't be valueless, and they seem happy with the backup QB in the meantime.

37 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

It's more like the sunk cost dilemma. (Ignoring the entire argument about whether the theoretical argument about sunk cost irrationality is actually true in practical application) Constantly changing streams with ever dwindling resources starts to resemble the gambler in the hole constantly doubling down trying to get the one big win to get themselves out.

The Redskins have very few resources at their disposal with which to acquire another QB, and are at a significant competitive disadvantage. There can be a legitimate argument about Griffin v. Cousins, but they have little prospect of acquiring more than journeyman talent with their resources.

24 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Yes, and if RGIII does not come back to be the same player, they have lost the major avenue by which to replace the subsequent talent void, because the hard cap mostly precludes a free agent shopping spree. It's like a skyscraper window washer selling his safety brake on his cables one moring, so he can buy a new motor with a new primary brake. He better be damned careful with his new equipment until he gets a new safety break, because if he loses what he just traded for, the only possible outcome is utter catastrophe.

(edit) To put it much more simply, the New York Yankees can treat sunk costs very differently from the Washington Redskins.

32 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

You're ignoring too many other ways of acquiring another QB. They have one they like on the roster. They have lower picks, which many years turn out above-replacement-level starters, if not Russell Wilsons. There may be an affordable free agent. Even if RGIII were going to be out all of 2013, and they had a first round pick, do you really think they'd use it on a QB? If RGIII were never going to play again, and they had the pick, I still think they'd roll with Cousins and sign a veteran backup. So I stand by my point: RGIII is not more valuable because of what was paid for him.

34 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

There is no such thing as an affordable free agent with regard to qbs who you can have substantial confidence in performing at an elite leve. 39 year old guys coming off an arm injury command 20 milion a year. Yes, you may get lucky, but you can't count on getting lucky.

The same applies to drafting qbs. Yes, occasionally somebody will get lucky with a Wilson in the third, or a Brady in the sixth, or even an undrafted Romo. The vast majority of good qbs, however, are 1st round draft picks.

You are correct that Griffin is not more valuable because of what they paid for him, but that isn't the same thing as saying that what was paid for Griffin does not have a significant impact on what it will mean to the Redskins if Griffin does not come back.

29 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

It's not just an RG3 thing...I'm always amazed at how hurt guys can be and still start on Sunday. D-lineman will have their shoulders in braces keeping them from raising their arms, d-backs with fingers/hands so taped up (or even in casts) where it'd be impossible to catch the ball, guys hobbling around. Frequently you wonder how inferior the backups must be to still not be better than the starter despite the guy being a shadow of his normal self.

10 Crappy FedEx Field condition

I said in another thread that Snyder is nuts for not installing a fast artifical surface at FedEx. Shoulda been done last summer. If your franchize QB is a statue like Peyton Manning, the green painted mud to slow down the pass rush makes sense. But the Skin's future is a speed/quickness/shifty guy that can use a fast track. And the latest FieldTurf is said to be very low-injury stuff.

Am I missing something? Was this Shanny's call?

45 Re: Crappy FedEx Field condition

You're missing something on the Peyton front: the speed of his decision-making and release means he's damn near unsackable on any surface despite his lack of mobility, and he wants his receivers to be able to get open quickly and predictably. Turf is good for pass offense, especially a very open one, pretty much full stop.

Less sure on the Washington front. It may be that the run/play-action-oriented nature of the Shanahan/Kubiak offense is actually better suited to grass. Not saying it's so, just that it might be.

47 Re: Crappy FedEx Field condition

Actually, turf gives you more traction than grass. A buddy that played football said,"It allows the body to faster than it should." He didn't go into detail about what that means, but said it boosts your performance. You can make sharper cuts and run faster, but need to be careful because you're more prone to injury.

Fields that are dirt don't give you any traction and you can slip. For the few (or I should say 2) football stadiums that are dual use for football and baseball, look at what happens when the players run across the baseball part of the field. It's harder to cut, harder to plant, and your legs can give way.

53 Re: Crappy FedEx Field condition

"You can make sharper cuts and run faster, but need to be careful because you're more prone to injury."

From what I can recall reading, despite the common assumption, studies trying to prove the injury part have been inconclusive.

And as for the speed and cuts part, does anyone know if this is still true with the advent of things like Field Turf? I know the old carpet-like fields were great for grip, so that made sense. But Field Turf is much more grass like, and I'm not sure it's significantly different than grass.

12 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Just to present three local examples of former players who thought Griffin should be pulled: Brian Mitchell, Doc Walker, and Trevor Matich. All said as much in the immediate post-game, before the full extent of the injury was known.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/01/06/brian-mitchell-rgiii-should-have-been-out-of-the-game/

15 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

I find the whole discussion just exposes how horrible our instantaneous analysis of 24/7 sports and random wingnuts on the internet painting themselves as experts whatever the topic may be is. If Shanahan pulled Griffin in the 2nd quarter and Seattle came back to win with Cousins at quarterback, I'd expect all the following to occur:

1.) Griffin to say he could've still played. Redskins fans, at least in partial outside of the few people that really are medical experts and those that just enjoy being contrarians, to use this to direct their fury at Shanahan for pulling him, saying Shanahan was too cautious and this shows why he can't win in the playoffs unless John Elway is quarterback, while lionizing Griffin for wanting to play injured and then they bring up analogies to great athletes of the past that played through injury and it resulted in success (like Elway).
2.) This being used by evidence from some fans that Shanahan should be replaced.
3.) Cousins to be given the Brady Quinn treatment by Redskins fans in the future.
4.) Various media defending and excoriating Shanahan for his decision.

16 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

"If Shanahan pulled Griffin in the 2nd quarter" is the key there. In the 2nd quarter, I agree, he'd probably be getting lambasted. But in the 3rd or 4th quarter? I'm not so sure. By the 4th quarter, even the TV jabronies were talking openly about how badly Griffin was playing, and he was visibily limping. It's pretty easy to defend taking him out at that point. There'd be some contrarians of course, but I would expect the majority opinion to be in agreement that pulling him was correct.

18 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

I have to agree. While I think he should have come out (speaking objectively, though I'm a 'Hawks fan), it seems to me that there's far too little consideration of how OUTRAGED!! everyone would be if he had been pulled, assuming that Washington had ended up losing anyway. It's like an iron rule: to fans, any notable decision is the wrong one, if my team loses - even if that decision was actually right, and/or had no actual bearing on the outcome.

22 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

Yes, the fans would have been outraged. That has nothing to do with the body of observable evdence clearly indicating that the back up qb should have been in the game, and guys getting paid like Shanahan have an absolute duty to make their decisions based on observable evidence, without regard to how they will be criticized after the fact. That's the price of well compensated leadership.

57 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

No, they wouldn't have been outraged. Not all of them anyway. It was obvious that Griffin had reinjured himself on the scramble and throw right before the second score in the first quarter. He ran toward the line of scrimmage, planted and pushed backward, and collapsed awkwardly in pain. I was pretty sure he would be seriously impaired after that and it was clear he could hardly walk on the next play.

58 Re: Robert Griffin III Undergoes ACL/LCL Surgery

And if RG3 had made the sensible decision himself? Cutler?

(Incidentally, I think the answer to my question is probably 'not Cutler'. I think RG3 has a better understanding / control / awareness of the importance of his body language and would have done a lot of limping and furious thumping of ground and standing on the side enraged and we'd have 'got' that there was nothing he could do.)