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Report: Union adviser advocates guidelines for injured player's return

The SportsXchange

The controversy regarding Robert Griffin III's knee injury, which required surgery, has caused the NFL Players Association's medical adviser, Thom Mayer, to suggest stricter protocol is needed when determining when a player can return to the game, USA Today reported.

The players' union absolved the Washington Redskins' medical personnel of any wrongdoing in the case of Griffin, but Mayer said the guidelines may need to be more precise.

"On concussions, we have a very clear process in place that dictates when a player can return," Mayer told USA Today. "On orthopedic injuries, the line isn't as fine yet. We need to have further discussion on this."

Mayer was satisfied with orthopedist James Andrews' involvement in the events that led to Griffin being put back into the Redskins' wild-card game against the Seahawks. But he thinks tighter regulations regarding a player's return to a game might have prevented Griffin from returning to the game. Griffin eventually reinjured his knee and had significant ligament damage that will require major surgery.

"Dr. Andrews saw a player who popped off the examination table and decided to play," Mayer said. "I think it's one of those heat-of-battle things, when you have a very motivated player determined to keep playing."

The NFLPA won't pursue the case further, unless Griffin decides to pursue the issue.

Mayer believes the rehabilitation and bracing for Griffin after the initial injury in mid-December were appropriate, and was OK with Griffin returning to action two weeks later.

"The key issue is whether a player is able to protect himself," Mayer said. "He was able to that. But when he gets re-injured, you've got to reset the thermostat. Even if he's rehabbed well to that point -- and the fibers had begun to heal -- it starts over."
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