MRI shows torn ligaments for Redskins' RG3, but opinions differ on whether injuries are new

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Griffin's knee will be re-examined by Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday

ASHBURN -- Robert Griffin III not only couldn't finish Sunday's playoff loss to Seattle, he might not be ready for the start of the 2013 season. And then some.

Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon on retainer by the Redskins, will examine the Redskins quarterback in Pensacola, Fla., on Tuesday to determine whether he indeed suffered a torn ACL of his right knee. If it's a full tear, then Griffin would face a recovery period of nine to 12 months. But it could be a partial tear, in which case he might avoid reconstructive surgery and be ready for next season.

Griffin could undergo arthroscopic surgery to determine the extent of the damage.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said there was a difference of opinion when doctors read Griffin's initial MRI on Sunday night following a 24-14 wild-card round playoff loss to Seattle. Test revealed tears in the knee, likely to the ACL and LCL -- he had torn both ligaments previously -- and doctors disagreed whether the tears in the MRI were new or old.

That's why Griffin will visit Andrews, who was on the sidelines during Sunday's loss. Griffin hurt his knee in the first quarter and then again in the fourth with 6:25 remaining. His knee buckled as he reached for an errant snap and couldn't recover the loose ball.

"Anytime there's old injuries with the ACL and LCL, there's always differences of opinion on the MRI," Shanahan said. "There is a concern. ... Right now everything is total speculation."

Griffin first injured his right knee in a Dec. 9 win over Baltimore, suffering a Grade 1 sprain of his lateral collateral ligament. The Redskins kept him out of a win the following week at Cleveland. But Griffin returned for the final two regular-season games, wearing a bulky black brace over his right knee.

Then after a strong opening drive Sunday, Griffin reinjured his leg on the second possession of the game. This time he was rolling to his right and tried to throw back across his body, causing his knee to buckle. But Griffin limped back to the huddle and continued to play.

Shanahan said he did not talk to team doctors at the time, though he said he spoke with them several times throughout the game.

Meanwhile, Griffin, voted to the Pro Bowl, clearly was not himself. After throwing for 68 yards combined on the first two drives, he threw for 16 on the ensuing eight. He limped on a 9-yard run. Later in the quarter, Griffin struggled to get outside and avoid pressure on a bootleg pass.

"I thought we made the right decision," Shanahan said. "Robert is our franchise quarterback. We won't take a chance on his career to win a game. If I didn't think it was right, he wouldn't have been in there. It's just that simple."

Griffin, who was not available to speak to reporters Monday, tweeted several times regarding his situation, addressing those who contest he should have been pulled long before he got hurt for good and also regarding his future:

"Many may question, criticize & think they have all the right answers. But few have been in the line of fire in battle ... When adversity strikes you respond in one of two ways....You step aside and give in..Or you step up and fight."

Redskins receiver Santana Moss echoed the sentiments of teammates.

"If he can go at 60 percent, he's better than half the guys out there. He could barely run the last three or four weeks, and he's still hard to catch," Moss said. "At the end of the day, him giving his all, that's all he can do for us, and I'm OK with that."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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