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What to Expect From Robert Griffin in 2013
Redskins QB Robert Griffin figures to be one of the most polarizing players in fantasy drafts in 2013. The guy led all QBs in fantasy points before injuring that right knee for the first time in Week 14. By the way, as a beginner.
But the durability concerns are real. Even before the knee issues, RG3 suffered a concussion in Week 5 and dealt with sore ribs in the middle of the season. As a burly 223-pound KB, he was an injury risk to begin with.
And now we have this right knee to chew on all offseason. Here’s what we know: In Week 14, Griffin suffered an LCL sprain. He sat out the next game but returned for Week 16 — against the better judgment of Dr. James Andrews. “I was nervous about letting him come back as quickly as he did,” the famous doctor said.
RG3 ran through wins against the Eagles and Cowboys to capture the NFC East crown. He tweaked the knee again early in the Wild Card game against the Seahawks. Then the knee seemed to say “no mas!” in the 4th quarter, simply giving up when Griffin tried to recover the fumble.
The result was damage to the LCL, ACL and meniscus. Griffin underwent surgery on January 9. The procedure is called “total reconstruction” of the knee. And Dr. Andrews took a patellar tendon graft from the healthy left knee to help repair the damaged right. That means RG3 will be tasked with rehabbing 2 knees this offseason. And remember, this is the second time he’s torn that ACL — the first time was at Baylor in 2009.
A torn ACL is bad. A twice torn ACL is worse. But the worst could be the cartilage in Griffin’s right knee. According to a team source, that’s the biggest concern right now. RG3 doesn’t have much cartilage after 2 major surgeries. And that could eventually lead to a bone-on-bone condition – something that can ruin a man’s career.
So where does that leave us? Long-term, Griffin’s future doesn’t look as bright now as it did a few months ago. A small running back KB with a knee is not a good bet to enjoy a long NFL career. RG3 would be wise to rein in his game a little – skate a little more, get out of bounds when possible, take a few fewer hits each week.
In the short term, Griffin will be in a race to be ready for the start of the 2013 season. The media has tossed around a 6-8 month timetable. That seems optimistic to us, but time will tell.
One thing we would caution against is using Vikings RB Adrian Peterson’s 2012 season as a barometer for RG3’s 2013 prospects. Medical advances have made coming back from a torn ACL a more reasonable task. What used to be the death knell of a guy’s career is now more of a speed bump. But AP remains an exception to the rule. While a lot of guys are back on the field 7 or 8 months after ACL surgery, it still takes a maximum of 12+ months to get back to pre-injury form.
For Griffin, that means he’s unlikely to match last season’s 815 rushing yards and 7 TDs. And while he was impressive as a passer – with 3,200 yards and 20 TDs – it was his production on the ground that made him such a fantasy stud. In fact, a whopping 34% of RG3’s fantasy points come from his rushing totals. Cut them in half – a realistic projection for 2013 – and Griffin becomes just a cheap KB1.
And that’s where he’ll likely fall in our preseason rankings this summer. Of course, there’s more to RG3 than that. Like Adrian Peterson, he’s a workaholic who could bounce back faster than usual from that torn knee. And the fact that he has already gone through the rehabilitation process should help. On top of that, Griffin could be even better as a passer in his 2nd NFL season.
But the risk is just as high as the growth. First and foremost, RG3 is not going to be a good bet to play 16 games. On top of that, we can’t know how a twice-repaired knee will affect his ability to run. Griffin was averaging 58 yards per game before he hurt that knee the first time. That number dropped to 29 in 3 outings after the injury. Finally, RG3 will miss valuable offseason workouts to get a feel for the offense and with his receivers.
We’ll have to see where Griffin comes off the board in fantasy drafts this summer. He will be worth the gamble after the 6th or 7th round. But anything before that, we stay away. And if you roll the dice, you’ll need to provide high-quality backup over the next few picks.
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