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NFLPA Will Not Pursue Formal Investigation Into Robert Griffin III’s Treatment

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

The NFL Players Association has decided not to pursue a formal investigation into the way the Washington Redskins’ medical staff treated and handled Robert Griffin III’s right knee injuries over the past month.

The union began an informal inquiry into the handling of the Washington Redskins quarterback’s injury earlier this week, but determined there was insufficient evidence to argue the team acted recklessly with Griffin’s care.

“Playing through pain is a harsh reality of our business and our union will always hold the league and the clubs accountable to the best medical care,” DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, told a Web site loosely affiliated with the union. “Our thoughts are with Robert as he recovers from his surgery and we hope he returns to full strength.”

Griffin originally sprained the LCL in his right knee on Dec. 9 against Baltimore, then was forced from the playoff game against Seattle on Sunday in the fourth quarter after aggravating the injury at least twice.

He underwent surgery Wednesday morning in Pensacola, Fla. to repair a torn LCL and reconstruct his previously repaired ACL.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA has the right to investigate the handling of any injury or other medical situation incurred by a player by a team’s medical staff.

Any issues related to coaching decisions are not part of either an informal or formal review.

“The quality of medical care [Griffin] ultimately received is only one part of this,” Thom Mayer, the players association’s medical director, said in a statement on the Web site.

Griffin said after the loss to the Seahawks that he felt his knee buckle late in the first quarter as he planted his foot in an attempt to stop running, and replays showed the knee twist under him when he tried to recover a loose ball midway through the fourth quarter.

In between the two incidents, Griffin was visibly hobbled, which affected his play. He did not show an ability to put any weight or pressure on his right leg, preventing him from throwing the ball accurately, and he ambled to the sideline on a nine-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Mike Shanahan has been questioned for the better part of a week with regards to his decision to allow Griffin to play in the game given that he appeared so limited.

James Andrews, a team orthopedist who performed Griffin’s surgery Wednesday, also told USA Today last week that he did not originally clear Griffin to return to the game against Baltimore and did not thoroughly examine him after he left the game for one play, which was contrary to what Shanahan had earlier said.

Andrews partially recanted that statement later in the week, saying that he did not specifically remember the nature of any conversation that took place at the time.

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