Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan would hardly be the first coach to bypass the recommendations of a doctor when it comes to the well-being of his players. For decades in the NFL, the diagnoses of team doctors were taken as seriously as it was convenient, and no more. The league’s new concussion protocols should have teams looking more seriously at what medical specialists say, but that isn’t always the case … and it’s possible that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is right in the sights of this process.
According to Robert Klemko of USA Today Sports, Dr. James Andrews, the same knee specialist responsible for Adrian Peterson’s miraculous return to health in 2012, is disputing Shanahan’s insistence that he had Andrews’ blessing to put Griffin back in the game after Griffin was injured against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 9. He missed the next game, a 38-21 win over the Cleveland Browns. Backup Kirk Cousins threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s on the sidelines with Dr. Andrews. He had a chance to look at him and he said he could go back in,” Shanahan said the day after the Ravens game. “(I said) ‘Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?’
‘Yeah, he can go back in.’
‘Robert, go back in.’
“That was it,” Shanahan said.
That’s not how Andrews saw it at all.
“[Griffin] didn’t even let us look at him,” Andrews said. “He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players, and took off back to the field. It wasn’t our opinion. We didn’t even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me.”
While Andrews eventually gave Griffin the green light to play in the Redskins’ wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, and Griffin is closer to optimal health for Sunday afternoon’s wild-cardgame against the Seattle Seahawks, Andrews is still uncomfortale with the way Griffin’s injury was handled.
“He’s doing a lot better this week, but he’s still recovering and I’m holding my breath because of it,” Andrews said. “He passed all the tests and all the functional things we do, but it’s been a trying moment for me, to be honest with you.”
This isn’t the first time the Redskins have run afoul of those in the know when it comes to Griffin’s health. When he suffered a concussion in a Week 5 game against the Atlanta Falcons, the team was fined $20,000 by the NFL for failing to properly notify the media of the severity of the injury. Instead, the team reported that Griffin was “shaken up.” The team did pull Griffin from the game after the concussion.
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