Thom Loverro: In some ways, Redskins' RG3 hurt himself worse

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The hubbub about Robert Griffin III's initial injury and the questions about what went wrong on the Washington Redskins' sideline when he got hurt -- and in the final weeks of the regular season -- won't go away.

They all came back as we watched Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, in his first game since surgery on his left forearm, break it again during the New England Patriots' 41-28 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Gronkowski went to the sideline after he hurt the arm while making a catch in the first quarter. He sat on the bench as he was being examined, then left the field with the Patriots' medical staff. He did not return.

When asked by reporters after the game about Gronkowski, Patriots coach Bill Belichick answered, "The doctors handle the medical decisions."

That phrase will never be the same for Redskins fans.

Dr. James Andrews, a consultant for the Redskins, forever planted the seed of doubt about that process for this franchise. He told USA Today he didn't clear RGIII to go back into the game in which he injured his knee -- Dec. 9 against the Baltimore Ravens -- despite coach Mike Shan?ahan's postgame claim that RGIII had been examined by the doctor.

Andrews backtracked with several different versions. We may never know how the protection of the franchise's most important player in decades broke down.

Questions, though, still should be asked -- such as what was RGIII's role in this debacle that led to the quarterback eventually going under the knife again?

Should RGIII have told his coaches his knee was too damaged for him to help his team win? Was it selfishness or foolish courage, part of the football culture?

There have been comparisons between the Nationals shutting down Stephen Strasburg and the Redskins failing to keep RGIII off the field with an already injured knee. Baseball and football have different cultures.

But here is a comparison worth considering -- what happened with St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia in Game 2 of the National League Division Series against the Nationals.

The Cardinals won the game 12-4. But it opened with Garcia walking three batters, giving up two hits and one run to Washington before being pulled after two innings. It turned out he had a sore shoulder and didn't tell anyone. The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported teammates and management were angry with Garcia for trying to pitch hurt in such an important game.

Where is the anger about RGIII?

We know from the NFL Network's "Sound FX" video that Trent Williams asked RGIII whether he was OK, and the rookie quarterback told him it "scared the [heck] out of me."

RGIII made it clear he was unhappy about not playing in Cleveland on Dec. 16, when Kirk Cousins led the Redskins to a 38-21 win. Behind the scenes may have been far worse.

RGIII is a team captain. Did he fail in that responsibility?

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

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