By JOSEPH WHITE
WASHINGTON — Robert Griffin III is having surgery today on a torn ligament in his right knee — and to see if there’s a second ligament that also needs to be repaired.
Baylor coach Art Briles confirmed to USA Today and The Associated Press on Tuesday night that the Washington Redskins rookie has a torn lateral collateral ligament. He said the surgery also will determine whether Griffin has damaged the ACL in that knee.
A person close to Griffin, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Redskins have not made an announcement, also confirmed the details surrounding Griffin’s injury to the AP.
A torn LCL requires a rehabilitation period of several months, possibly extending into training camp and the start of next season. A torn ACL is a more severe injury, typically requiring nine to 12 months of recovery, although Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson make a remarkable return this season some eight months after tearing an ACL — and nearly broke the NFL’s single-season rushing record.
Griffin tore his ACL in the same knee while playing for Baylor in the third game of the 2009 season and missed the rest of the year. He was injured on the opening drive against Northwestern State but kept playing until halftime.
Griffin came back to win the Heisman Trophy two years later, and Briles predicted a similar recovery this time.
“RG3 will be good as new, though. I know that!” Briles said in a text message to the AP.
Griffin sprained the LCL last month against the Baltimore Ravens and missed one game. He returned wearing a bulky black brace for subsequent games and reinjured the knee at least twice in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, prompting a national debate over whether coach Mike Shanahan endangered his franchise player’s career by not taking him out sooner.
The Redskins said an MRI taken after the game was inconclusive, so Griffin flew to Florida on Tuesday for a more detailed examination conducted by orthopedist James Andrews. Andrews will perform the surgery Wednesday.
Griffin, the No. 2 overall pick, was one of several rookie quarterbacks to make an instant impact on the league this season. He set the NFL record for best season passer rating by a rookie QB and led the Redskins to their first NFC East title in 13 years.
But Griffin also had to leave three games early due to injuries — two because of his knee and one because of a concussion — and missed a fourth altogether because of the knee. Shanahan repeatedly said Griffin had clearance from doctors to return to play, but the coach also said he trusted Griffin’s own word when deciding that the rookie should continue during Sunday’s game — even though Griffin was clearly struggling after reinjuring the knee in the first quarter.
Griffin remained in the game until the fourth quarter, when he hurt the knee again while fielding a bad shotgun snap.