If Adrian Peterson can do it, maybe Robert Griffin III can, too.
Peterson set an incredible standard this season for NFL players returning from major knee surgery, nearly breaking the NFL single-season rushing record. Griffin need look nowhere else for an inspiration as the Washington Redskins quarterback begins the road back from an operation Wednesday on two ligaments in his right knee.
"I think it gives motivation to everyone,'' said Russ Paine, a physical therapist in Houston who worked with the Peterson as the Minnesota Vikings running back went through rehab.
Griffin had his lateral collateral ligament repaired and his ACL reconstructed for a second time. The surgery was performed in Florida by orthopedist James Andrews, who was optimistic that Griffin would be back on the field this fall.
"We expect a full recovery, and it is everybody's hope and belief that due to Robert's high motivation, he will be ready for the 2013 season,'' Andrews said in a statement released by the Redskins. "The goal of his treatment is to give him the best opportunity for a long professional career.''
But no two athletes - or knee surgeries, for that matter - are exactly alike, so pinning down a date for Griffin's return is an inexact science. Complicating matters is that Griffin tore the ACL in the same knee in 2009 while playing for Baylor.
University of Maryland head team physician Craig Bennett said football players typically need seven to 11 months to return from a second ACL reconstruction, but that it often takes up to a year for the ligament to be fully healed.
"Typically your first season back from an ACL reconstruction, there's a tendency to have some struggles from time to time,'' Bennett said.
That's what made Peterson so remarkable. He tore an ACL in late December 2011 and was the league's best back in 2012.
Paine said Peterson's focus and intensity in rehab and natural athletic gifts made the quick recovery possible. Many say Griffin has those same qualities, and he was sounding an upbeat tone on Twitter even before the surgery began early Wednesday morning.
"Thank you for your prayers and support. I love God, my family, my team, the fans, & I love this game. See you guys next season,'' Griffin tweeted.
While Griffin heals, the debate will continue as to whether he should have been on the field when he hurt the knee for a final time in the fourth quarter Sunday's playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Griffin reinjured his knee in the first quarter and was obviously hobbled, but he stayed in the game after convincing coach Mike Shanahan that all was OK.
"People can limp around; people can be hurting,'' Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young said Wednesday. "Some of the great John Wayne hero things that have ever happened in football happened because people play hurt.''
The first major injury to Griffin's knee was the torn ACL in the third game of the 2009 season with Baylor, when he was hurt on the opening drive against Northwestern State but kept playing until halftime. Griffin missed the rest of the year but returned in 2010 and won the Heisman Trophy in 2011.
Griffin's first notable injury in the pros was a concussion early this season, which led the quarterback to learn to protect his body better while running the ball.
But last month, at the end of a 13-yard scramble, he sprained the LCL when he was hit by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Griffin missed one game and returned to play in three more while wearing a bulky knee brace, his mobility clearly hindered.
On Sunday, Griffin hurt the knee again as he fell awkwardly while throwing a pass late in the first quarter against the Seahawks. He was mostly ineffective the rest of the game, completing only four passes after that drive.
Griffin finally departed with 6:19 to play in the game, after the knee buckled while he was trying to field a bad shotgun snap.
The No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft, Griffin was one of several rookie quarterbacks to make an instant impact on the NFL this season. He set the league record for best season passer rating by a rookie QB and led the Redskins to their first NFC East title in 13 years.
Griffin's knee has kept the nation's capital on tenterhooks all week. He was hurt Sunday. Then Shanahan announced Monday that a second opinion was needed.
Then on Tuesday came word that surgery would be taking place. Wednesday was the actual surgery. While it was taking place, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray said he will invite Griffin to watch President Barack Obama's inaugural parade on a reviewing stand outside the district government building later this month.
"I'd love to have him come, but ... he obviously may be unable. His mobility may be impaired somewhat at that point,'' Gray said. "My focus right now is on having him successfully get through the surgery.''
If Adrian Peterson can do it, maybe Robert Griffin III can, too.
3A AREA PLAYOFFS: Verdigris battles Tahlequah Sequoyah in Checotah
Verdigris senior guard Caitlyn Hanslovan drained two key 3-pointers during Saturday’s Class 3A Regional Finals that provided a spark and a huge win over Vian.
Hanslovan, who is accustomed to winning state championships in soccer, will look to move the No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals one step closer toward a berth in the 3A State Tournament at 6:30 p.m. on Friday in the area finals against Tahlequah Sequoyah at Checotah High School.
Catoosa HS set to host Class 6A Girls Area; 5A Boys Area tourneys
For high school basketball enthusiasts in Rogers County, Catoosa High School is the place to be on Thursday and Friday.
Catoosa High School will host the Class 6A Girls Area and Class 5A Boys Area over the two-day period.
Class 3A Regional Champions
It’s takes two to tango and the Verdigris basketball teams are dancing their way to the Class 3A Area Finals.
With a state tournament berth on the line Friday night, both Verdigris teams return to a familiar place on the road to state in Oklahoma City.
The Class 3A No. 3-ranked Lady Cardinals waltzed past Vian, 58-46 and the No. 4-ranked Cardinals decked Eufaula, 66-53 to cap off the regional championship night Saturday inside the Jack Collins Fieldhouse.
Claremore set to host 4A Area Basketball Tournament
Claremore High School will be a busy place Thursday through Saturday with several of the state’s top Class 4A basketball teams competing in the area tournament.
West Virginia, Baylor top Big 12 Women's BB Tourney
It took West Virginia two years to make a splash in the Big 12.
The seventh-ranked Mountaineers earned a share of the regular-season title in their second year in the league and take a 10-game win streak into the conference tournament that starts Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
BIG 12 MBB: No. 16 Iowa State looks to close with win over Oklahoma State
Iowa State is more than ready for the postseason after playing 17 games in the nation's most grueling conference.
Still, the Cyclones wouldn't mind picking up a little momentum before heading to the Big 12 tournament and beyond.
No. 16 Iowa State (22-7, 10-7 Big 12) has dropped its last two games, road losses to Kansas State and Baylor, after going 7-1 in February.
NBA CAPSULES: Duncan paces Spurs past Heat
Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed against the Miami Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense and emotional 111-87 victory Thursday.
MLB: Hill arrives at Red Sox camp following son's death
Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill starts spring training with a heavy heart.
Hill reported to Boston's camp on Thursday following the death of son Brooks, who was less than 2 months old when he died on Feb. 24.
Sports medicine pioneer Frank Jobe dies at 88
Dr. Frank Jobe, a pioneering orthopedic surgeon who was the first to perform an elbow procedure that became known as Tommy John surgery and saved the careers of countless major league pitchers, died Thursday. He was 88.
AP Source: 10-second rule withdrawn by committee
Round one of the pace-of-play debate goes to the proponents of fast football.
The NCAA football rules committee tabled a proposal Wednesday that would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock, The Associated Press has learned.
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