Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews told the Washington Post on Monday that his comments about Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan were misunderstood.
Andrews, on retainer from the Redskins, said Shanahan did not fabricate a sideline conversation the two had about deciding whether or not to allow injured quarterback Robert Griffin III to re-enter a game on Dec 9.
Griffin injured his right knee late in the Redskins' game against the Baltimore Ravens. After coming off the field for one play, Griffin went back in for four snaps before exiting the game for good. Backup Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin and led Washington to an overtime victory.
The next day, it was discovered that Griffin had a sprained lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Shanahan said he consulted Andrews -- and that Andrews examined Griffin -- on whether or not to allow Griffin to re-enter the game.
Andrews said in a USA Today report Sunday that he did not clear Griffin to go back into the game and that he did not even get the chance to examine him.
Shanahan gave a lengthy explanation when asked about the discrepancy after Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
"Well, after the game we talked in detail," Shanahan said. "When he went back into the game at that time, I looked over at Dr. Andrews, he said, 'Yeah, he's ok to go back in.' Of course I'm sitting there trying to evaluate Kirk Cousins' play, so when someone says he's OK ... Well, what Dr. Andrews is talking about, when I talked to him today, he said, 'Hey, Robert came around and he started showing us he could run; he was sprinting around and then he just took off, so I just figured he was OK. I didn't go through a thorough examination of him until after the game.'
"I wasn't really sure in what detail he was talking about at that time. He felt Robert -- just looking at him run and then take off -- that he was OK to go back in. I looked at him for the next three plays, the first time he had Santana (Moss) shell across, the next time he threw a little out-round, and it looked like his footwork was good. But you could see on that last one, where he hit Pierre Garcon, that when he stepped into the pocket that it wasn't right. At that time Pierre caught it and he was trying to kill the clock, but we were going to take him out at that time, and that's when Kirk came in."
Andrews changed his tune on Monday.
"Coach Shanahan didn't lie about it, and I didn't lie," Andrews said. "I didn't get to examine (Griffin's knee) because he came out for one play, didn't let us look at him and on the next play, he ran through all the players and back out onto the field. Coach Shanahan looks at me like, 'Is he OK?' and I give him the 'Hi' sign as in, 'He's running around, so I guess he's OK.' But I didn't get to check him out until after the game. It was just a communication problem. Heat of battle. I didn't get to tell him I didn't get to examine the knee. Mike Shanahan would never have put him out there at risk just to win a game."
Griffin missed one game before returning Dec. 23. He wore a knee brace the rest of the season. He re-injured the knee in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Seattle and finally came out of the game with 6:19 left in the fourth quarter.
The Post reported that an MRI showed Griffin might have partially torn his anterior cruciate ligament and LCL.