What's buzzing:

RG3 reportedly suffers torn LCL; surgeon says return for next season 'not the norm'

Eric Adelson
Yahoo Sports

Robert Griffin III tweeted "See you guys next season" to his followers early Wednesday morning, and he certainly has a chance to return to play in the fall. But he may have to wait longer to take the field again, according to an orthopedic surgeon trained by Dr. James Andrews, the renowned specialist who examined Griffin on Tuesday.

View gallery


Robert Griffin III twists his knees as he reaches for the loose ball in a loss to Seattle. (AP)

Michael Jablonski, a former team physician for the Orlando Magic, said he tells patients who have injuries similar to Griffin's to expect eight to 12 months to return to play, and more than that to feel as strong and stable as before the injury.

Griffin's rehab could go well and he may be on the field for the Redskins' season-opener. But there is also a possibility the Washington Redskins star rookie quarterback may not regain the Olympic speed he has shown in his career so far.

It was reported Tuesday that Dr. Andrews will surgically repair Griffin's lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, which he tore in Sunday's wild-card loss against the Seattle Seahawks. During surgery to repair Griffin's torn LCL, Dr. Andrews reportedly determined that Griffin's anterior cruciate ligament needed to be repaired as well.

[Photos: RG3 injured]

Jablonski said it's unlikely that the LCL was torn in isolation – "I've seen like five isolated LCL tears [in 13 years]" – and it's the potential of multiple ligament damage that puts Griffin's short-term prognosis in the most peril. Jablonski said ACL injuries take six to eight months to heal and "a year to forget about it," meaning a year before the patient doesn't feel any after-effects. The LCL complicates the issue, because while an ACL regulates front-to-back motion, the LCL controls side-to-side movement.

"It makes it more difficult," said Jablonski, now the orthopedic doctor for the University of Central Florida athletic department. "You're trying to restore stability in more than one plane."

And because Griffin's mastery comes in both straight-ahead speed and lateral motion, his full recovery will be more tenuous than it would be for a more traditional drop-back passer.

"For that type of player to return to that same level of play, the chances are going to be lower than if it was a single-ligament injury," Jablonski said.

Asked if Griffin's Olympic-level speed is at risk, Jablonski said, "There's no question it's at risk. Not everybody regains full range of motion. It's still unstable and maybe can't get back to what it was."

This is not to be overly pessimistic. Adrian Peterson suffered a multiple-ligament injury in December 2011 and returned to have an MVP-caliber season in 2012. He did not miss a single game. Andrews performed Peterson's surgery and he is, in Jablonski's words, "by far the best sports medicine surgeon."

[Related: What was Mike Shanahan thinking playing RG3?]

But Jablonski feels the need to be straightforward with patients, and Peterson's expedited recovery is "very rare." Stiffness post-surgery is likely, and further procedures are not out of the question.

View gallery


RG3 sits on the bench after injuring his knee. (AP)

"When you have someone like RG3, you can use Adrian Peterson as a motivational tool," he said. "There's no question you can look at him and say it is possible. But on the other hand, there are certainly examples of athletes who didn't get back. You just have to be realistic with the patients. You might need more than one surgery."

Depending on the severity of the tear, an LCL can be sewn back together. An ACL, according to Jablonski, cannot. That ligament is repaired with material from another part of the body or even a cadaver. Griffin had reconstruction of his right ACL in 2009.

Asked if a return to play next season should be ruled out for Griffin, Jablonski said no.

"It certainly is possible," he said. “But it's not the norm."

Outside the Game from Yahoo! Sports:

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
NBA Power Rankings: Clippers remain No. 1
How badly will the lockout really hurt the NHL?
Minnesota Twins' future depends on owner's willingness to spend cash
Y! News: Mom awoken by cat finds python wrapped around 2-year-old daughter

View Comments (1922)
  • McLean returns at fullback for Italy

    McLean returns at fullback for Italy

    (Reuters) - Luke McClean returns at fullback in Italy's only change to their starting side for Sunday's home Six Nations match against England. McClean replaces David Odiete who has a neck problem, with Andrea Pratichetti taking his place on the … More »

    Reuters - 3 minutes 59 seconds ago
  • 'I Win My Way': Cam Newton thanks Carolina Panthers fans

    'I Win My Way': Cam Newton thanks Carolina Panthers fans

    Cam Newton has been talked about more this week than the players from the Denver Broncos team that actually won Super Bowl 50. … More »

    Shutdown Corner - 5 minutes ago
  • Chelsea a team of 'Zorros', says Hiddink after Costa breaks nose

    Chelsea a team of 'Zorros', says Hiddink after Costa breaks nose

    Chelsea striker Diego Costa will become the latest Chelsea player to wear a protective mask after breaking his nose, leading interim manager Guus Hiddink to liken his side to a "team of Zorros". Spain forward Costa suffered the injury in an … More »

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago
  • Integrity review to take at least a year

    An independent review panel (IRP) will take at least a year to investigate allegations of corruption in tennis and the effectiveness of existing procedures, the sport's governing bodies said on Friday. "While there is no fixed deadline for the IRP … More »

    Reuters - 11 minutes ago
  • Ter Mors beats US duo to women's 1,000m world skating gold

    KOLOMNA, Russia (AP) -- Jorien Ter Mors of the Netherlands beat U.S. speedskaters Heather Richardson-Bergsma and Brittany Bowe to women's 1,000-meter gold at the world single distance championships on Friday. … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 minutes ago