With training camp set to begin in Richmond this week, one looming question remains for the Washington Redskins: what is the status of Robert Griffin’s knee? Griffin has said on multiple occasions that he will “no doubt” be ready for the start of training camp, but the Redskins have to show extra caution with the health of their franchise quarterback. While Griffin was able to play through his knee injury last year while wearing a brace, it was obvious that the knee hindered his running motion quite significantly and therefore cut into the effectiveness of RGIII’s dual-threat style of play. With that being said, we have done some investigation about the past, present, and possible future knee braces that we will see Griffin wearing as training camp rapidly approaches.
To further investigate this topic, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Ray Solano. Dr. Solano has twelve years of experience working with football athletes from all levels. He has seen numerous knee injuries during his career, including some that end promising athletic careers. A big part of his medical responsibilities in retuning athletes to play includes proper bracing, therefore he is very knowledgeable about the many braces that we have seen and will see RGIII wearing. Dr. Solano told us that the brace we saw Griffin wearing at the end of last season was a Don Joy ‘Playmaker’ brace which is designed for mild ligament instability, particularly that of the LCL and MCL. This brace provides extensive support, while preventing outward bowing of the LCL. It was clear when watching Griffin that this brace caused him restrictions in his running motion, but this brace is significantly more restrictive then the Don Joy ‘Defiance’ brace that he is wearing now. The ‘Defiance’ brace is designed to stabilize the ACL during the return to play process for a player coming off of reconstructive surgery. Dr. Solano has personally seen this brace endure some tough workouts. He added that the brace is not only less restrictive, but also lighter because it is made out of carbon fiber. However, the brace is still very supportive to the knee because the hinges on the sides of the brace minimize the amount of time that the knee is in the ‘at risk’ position. Therefore, this brace provides extra support specifically when the athlete is running, cutting, and jumping.
There has been much talk about whether or not Griffin will be on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list when training camp begins. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network recently said that it is likely that Griffin will begin camp on the PUP list, but many others disagree. It seems that there is no reason to put Griffin on the PUP list, especially because it doesn’t even give the team an extra roster spot for training camp. If on the PUP list, it severely hampers any activity that Griffin may be able to participate in during camp. If he is not on the list, he can participate in as many drills as he can, but the team can still monitor his progress and hold him out of any additional drills or activities. Dr. Solano told us that considering the progress that Griffin has made thus far, he expects him to participate fully in camp while wearing the ‘Defiance’ brace. He also added that he doesn’t expect Griffin to play without the brace anytime soon because of the functionality and comfort that the brace provides from both a physical and mental standpoint. At the end of the day, I believe it is very unlikely that Griffin will begin training camp on the PUP list, but he will still be monitored very closely by the team’s medical and coaching staff. It is important for Griffin to get in as much work as he can, which being on the PUP list would severely prohibit.
To learn more about Dr. Ray Solano, please follow him on Twitter @DrRaySolano and check out his website at www.DrRaySolano.com