By Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir
We’re about to go into almost six weeks of a virtual news vacuum as the Redskins players and coaches take some vacation time and then start preparations for training camp. But there won’t be a blackout on speculation over whether or not Robert Griffin III will be ready for training camp.
He has looked pretty healthy when reporters have seen him throwing passes and running at Redskins Park over the last few weeks. But that is a far cry from donning the full pads and giving that right knee the punishment that comes with the grind of training camp. Will Griffin get the green light to participate fully when camp starts in Richmond on July 25? Or will his debut on the practice field wait longer than that? Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir debate the issue in this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Tarik El-Bashir: Based on what we witnessed this week during minicamp – and what we heard from RG3 himself – I’ll be surprised if he’s not on the field with his teammates on Day 1 of training camp. In his own words, he’s already “comfortable” sprinting at, or near, maximum effort. He’ll introduce cutting to his rehab routine next week. Then, after a week or so of cutting, he’ll still have FOUR more weeks before he reports to Richmond. But the physical evidence isn’t the only reason I think he’ll be ready. He’s been through this before. He knows how his knee should be feeling at this stage of rehab. So when he says he’s “pretty confident” he’ll be ready, I believe him.
Rich Tandler: I completely believe that Griffin believes that he’ll be ready to don the pads on July 25. I’m just not so sure that Mike Shanahan and Dr. James Andrews are as confident. Just minutes after RG3 said the thought he’d be ready for camp “without a doubt”, Shanahan came to the microphone and hit the brakes on that talk so hard that the anti-lock braking system activated. He noted that the minimum time frame for recovery from an ACL year is seven months. Griffin had the surgery on Jan. 9 so the seven-month mark comes on August 9. That’s about two weeks into training camp and exactly one month before the season starts. It is that day that RG3 will be cleared to participate.
El-Bashir: I’m not an orthopedic surgeon. I don’t have a crystal ball. I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. All I’ve got is my gut feeling, what we witnessed during OTAs and, of course, what RG3 has said publicly. Look, six months and 17 days sounds awfully optimistic for an ACL revision as well as repairs to the LCL and meniscus. Heck, it took Adrian Peterson seven months and 14 days to go from surgery on his ACL and MCL to practice. So, yes, I’ll admit that it sounds a bit unreasonable to expect RG3 to be on the field Day 1. But almost no one thought RG3 would lead the Redskins to NFC East title as a rookie, either. The guy is quite comfortable doing the unthinkable.
Tandler: I also have been very impressed by what I’ve seen out of RG3 the past few weeks. And I think that if it was absolutely essential for him to be out there on July 25th he would be. But here’s the thing—it’s not necessary. Let Kirk Cousins take the reigns for the initial grind of camp and the first preseason game. If Griffin gets in there on the 9th of August, seven months after surgery, he would have 10 days to get ready to take a few snaps in the Steelers preseason game, another week to prepare to play several series against the Bills and then two weeks to practice for the season opener. Sounds like a plan to me and it probably does to Shanahan and Andrews as well.