Redskins Dr. Andrews never cleared RG3 to return against Ravens

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Way back in 2012, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a gruesome knee injury while running against the Ravens on Dec. 9 when Haloti Ngata's entire body collided with RG3's femur. The rookie quarterback left the game for a single play but then returned to the field before being replaced by backup and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.

The decision to put Griffin back in that game was, according to coach Mike Shanahan, cleared by Dr. James Andrews, who was on the Redskins' sideline. However, Andrews told Robert Klemko of USA Today that he never did such a thing, that he didn't even get to "touch him or talk to him" and that it "scared the hell out of me."

"[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."

That's not a good look at all for the Redskins. But it's a much worse look when you start digging through the postgame quotes from Shanahan, who name-checked Andrews five times.

"We had Dr. [James] Andrews on the sideline with us," Shanahan said when asked about Griffin returning to the game. "He's the one that gives me the information. It's way over my head. I'm just telling you what he said. We felt very good with the news."

Shanahan was obviously asked lots of questions about Griffin that day. One question that was asked was "what convinced him that [RG3] could return," and his answer was, quite specifically, that Andrews was on the sideline.

“Dr. Andrews – our sideline [doctor]," Shanahan said. "Dr. Andrews is pretty good. Not too many people have him on their sidelines, so we felt pretty lucky that he was there."

Bad, right? It actually gets worse -- in the transcript, when asked about the "specific sequence of events" that led to RG3's return, Shanahan described a specific conversation that he had with Andrews.

“ 'Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?' " Shanahan recalled. " 'Yeah, he can go back in.' ‘Robert, go back in.' That was it."

Except there's one problem: Andrews said that conversation never happened, claimed he has been a "nervous wreck" ever since Griffin returned and said he was the one who "finally" got Griffin out of the game against Baltimore.

"I'm the one that shut him down that day, finally," Andrews told Klemko. "I've been a nervous wreck letting him come back as quick as he has. He's doing a lot better this week, but he's still recovering and I'm holding my breath because of it.

"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."

The Redskins haven't exactly been forthright when it comes to Griffin's injuries this year: they were already fined $20,000 by the NFL for telling the media that RG3 was "shaken up" when he suffered what was clearly a concussion against the Falcons.

With the Redskins winning the NFC East for the first time since 1999, it's quite obvious what a difference that Griffin makes for them. But if Andrews' story is accurate -- and you can bet Shanahan will get more than a few questions about these claims over the next 24 hours -- Shanahan is doing the rookie and the Redskins a major disservice in terms of his long-term health.

The Redskins declined comment when asked by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora about Andrews quotes.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 p.m. ET and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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