Caps' doctor: RG3 could return in 8-9 months

Caps' doctor: RG3 could return in 8-9 months
January 9, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Dr. Ben Shaffer explains RG3's knee injury

The doctor who performed surgery on Robert Griffin III’s knee Wednesday morning said the Redskins' quarterback “will be ready for the 2013 season,” leaving some wiggle room as to precisely when he'll return to the lineup.

But according to Ben Shaffer, the Capitals’ longtime physician, a typical recovery for an elite athlete who had a similar surgery is 8-9 months. 

Griffin, who was injured during Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Seahawks and appeared to play at least a portion of the game after getting hurt, had the LCL and ACL in his right knee repaired by renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews at the doctor’s office near Pensacola, Fla. Andrews released a statement but it did not include a timeline.

“A primary ACL reconstruction is probably is about six month timetable to return to the previous level of activity,” Shaffer told Comcast SportsNet’s Jill Sorenson. “When you add an LCL repair, which initially requires immobilization, and not prompt rehab right out of the box, then you’re adding to the equation several months because of requiring the LCL to heal.”

The fact that Griffin’s ACL was repaired for the second time – the same ligament was fixed in 2009 when he was a sophomore at Baylor – could also add some time to the recovery period.

“In addition [to the LCL], he underwent a revision ACL reconstruction, not a primary reconstruction,” said Shaffer, who has performed thousands of knee surgeries but has not examined Griffin. “In a revision, generally, we go a bit slower.”

The rehabilitation process likely will include Griffin’s knee being immobilized for a period of 3-6 weeks, Shaffer said. After that, the schedule will gradually progress to range of motion exercises to weight bearing and strengthening.

Shaffer said Griffin should be able return to the field in 5-6 months and be cleared for contact in 8-9 months, provided, of course, he reaches all of the normal milestones along the way. Shaffer also noted that most athletes don’t feel 100-percent until the second season.

“Whether he comes back in seven months or 10 months won’t be as important as when he comes back that he’s 100 percent or as close as possible,” Shaffer said.


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