Long Road Ahead for RG3

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III had surgery to repair a torn ACL and LCL (Photo credit: bmward_2000)

As a rabid NFL fan, I find it hard not to report on one of the most dynamic players to enter the league in quite some time: star quarterback Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins.

Although I’m a die-hard Steelers fan, I have pulled for the Redskins for as long as I can remember. Before the Carolina Panthers were added as an expansion team in 1995, most North Carolinians supported one of two teams who played nearby: the Atlanta Falcons or the Washington Redskins.

My family opted for the Redskins, but only when they weren’t playing our beloved Steelers.

For a while, the Redskins were a force to be reckoned with as players like John Riggins and Joe Theismann lit up opposing defenses and helped win the franchise its first Super Bowl in 1983. The Skins have won several more since then, but for the most part, the 21st century has been kind of a bust. There was the 10-6 season and wild card win in 2005, but I don’t really count that because in the divisional round, the Redskins lost to, you guessed it, the Seattle Seahawks.

Then came RGIII.

Washington Redskins National Football League q...

Joe Theismann before LT snapped his leg (courtesy of Ted Van Pelt/Wikipedia)

Since this talented rookie touched down in our nation’s capital, the Redskins have been markedly better and the fan base has been injected with limitless excitement and something that has been lacking in that city for a long time: hope. And for once, the Skins started winning more games than they lost.

Unfortunately, RGIII was injured in the Skins’ week 14 game against the Baltimore Ravens. To make matters worse, he injured the same knee on which he had ACL reconstructive surgery in college. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins stepped in and in their very next game, he led his team to victory. Then RGIII shocked everyone and returned to the field. Most fans considered this a godsend, but I found myself fearing for the worst. And last week, my fears were realized.

During the recent wild card playoff game between the Redskins and the rising Seattle Seahawks, whose own rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been just as dynamic as RGIII, the Skins’ new superstar tweaked his knee in the first half. Instead of sitting out for the remainder of the game and allowing Kirk Cousins to step in yet again, RGIII assured his coach, Mike Shanahan, that he could still perform. Shanahan agreed and put RGIII back in.

Big mistake.

After a great first quarter and a terrible second quarter, the injured winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy returned to lead his team, but he just wasn’t the same. RGIII had trouble moving around, couldn’t escape the pocket without his lightning-fast speed and barely completed any passes.

Unfortunately for Redskins fans, Russell Wilson didn’t have the same problem and continued moving his offense down the field.

With just over six minutes left in the game and a tough deficit to overcome on the scoreboard, RGIII went back to work. His center snapped the ball low and when the young quarterback bent over to pick it up, his knee buckled and he collapsed on the ground in obvious pain. The poor guy couldn’t even scoop up the fumbled ball, despite having plenty of time to do so. It just laid there on the ground beside him until a Seahawk defender grabbed it.

As I’m sure you know, things didn’t end well for the Redskins. They ended up losing 24-14 and will spend January at home. Oddly enough, they ended their season at 10-6 and once again got knocked from the playoffs by Seattle. Only this time, the Seahawks handled things a round early.

I sure hope we don’t face these guys again next year.

Speaking of next year, early reports of RGIII’s injury and subsequent surgery, which happened earlier today and supposedly went well, were optimistic. Almost everyone was sure that he would be fine in 6-8 months and ready to start the regular season. Now doctors aren’t so sure because RGIII’s injury was so severe, far worse than the torn ACL suffered by record-setting Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson last year.

Fun with ligaments!

“It’s a horrendous injury,” Dr. Richard Kaplan told ESPN recently. “It’s the ACL and the LCL, the outside ligament which is really a tremendous insult to the knee.”

A number of other doctors concur with Dr. Kaplan. Some say this type of injury requires 8-12 months to rehab correctly, which would allow RGIII to play during the 2013 season. But there are others who believe he could be sitting on the bench in the beginning and maybe even for the whole year!

Sorry. The very thought of it made me shudder. I mean, Kirk Cousins is good, but he’s no RGIII. And there’s no guarantee that Cousins will even be in Washington next year. A lot of teams are hurting for quarterbacks and Cousins had a pretty good showing this season, so who the hell knows what kind of replacement we would get. I’m trying my best not to think about it.

For Robert Griffin III, an extremely talented and award-winning football player with mad skills and unlimited potential, the long road to recovery begins today. I certainly wish him well and have but one piece of advice to offer: don’t be a hero. We all saw what happened when you rushed back from injury before and believe me… and I am speaking for all Redskins fans now and feel absolutely no apprehension in making this claim… we would all prefer if you just got some rest this time. Heal up right so you can return to us sharp, healthy and fast.

And so we can start winning again. Go Skins!

Posted on January 10, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

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