Last Monday as his team was enjoying its last few days off before training camp, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III received his desired medical clearance to practice with the team at training camp. This came around six months after the player had torn two right knee ligaments (ACL and LCL) and underwent surgery back on Jan. 9.
The story is a familiar one as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had a similar one last season. For this player, 2012 had a very happy ending–well maybe nine yards shy of a perfect ending–and with RG3 facing his comeback, you can’t help but ask, can he also have a miracle return from his ACL surgery?
For now, the answer seems yes but RG3 is taking a cautious approach. He said on Wednesday via Sporting News that he may see some preseason game action “maybe in the third preseason game—but as far as my understanding goes, preseason is not really in the air, is not a worry at all. I feel like I can play, and Coach feels like I can play, without any preseason. No need, really, for that.”
Preseason play does not appear to be an option as Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said the quarterback will not participate in any games. RG3 will ease into his return by participating in 7-on-7 drills, but not in the 11-on-11 ones. He is wearing a knee brace and will first focus on returning to football shape.
The quarterback still has his eye on playing in Week 1 on Monday, Sept. 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles. This comes after his initial recovery had been set between seven to nine months; RG3 had also confidently predicted he’d be ready for training camp (Check!).
Should he take that snap in that first regular season game, it will take place eight months after his surgery.
Peterson, who set the bar high for amazing recoveries, entered training camp on the PUP list last season. He remained there for two weeks as the team watched to see if he could handle a complete workload. After this short period, he participated in full body drills, according to ESPN, but he did not play in any preseason games.
Peterson did play in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This came as his injury and return to play was 260 days; it was 231 days before he practiced at camp.
Griffin’s time span will be shorter as he went 196 days between the injury and getting cleared to practice.
But a final hurdle, as noted by ESPN, is the fact that Peterson not only returned to form but really came back stronger than ever. While there are comparisons for these two by the speed of their recoveries the real one may come on RG3’s level of play this season.
Will it also be elevated? And can he stay healthy?