Robert Griffin III’s odd week continued today. About 24 hours after the team issued a statement saying that Griffin had been cleared to play against the Ravens tomorrow night, another statement was issued saying that he is not cleared.
The team passed along the following statement by independent neurologist Robert N. Kurtzke:
“Per discussion with Neuropsychologists and with Anthony Casolaro M.D., we had anticipated yesterday that the patient would be cleared for full participation in gameplay this weekend; however, upon further scrutiny today of the neuropsychology data, I agree with the neuropsychologist that he should be held from gameplay this weekend and be retested in one-two weeks before a firm conclusion to return to gameplay can be made.”
After the Redskins’ preseason game against the Lions last Thursday, coach Jay Gruden announced that Griffin had sustained a concussion. After recovering a fumble early in the second quarter, the quarterback stayed down on the field for a few minutes before slowly walking off. Presumably that is when Griffin suffered the concussion, although neither he nor Gruden were able to specify to reporters exactly when it happened.
There were conflicting reports concerning Griffin’s status during the game, with the team’s own broadcast network reporting that Griffin had cleared the concussion test. But Gruden’s announcement after the game put the quarterback into the NFL’s concussion protocol.
On Sunday, Griffin took what appeared to be a normal workload in a practice open to fans and the media. Gruden said afterwards that Griffin had been cleared to participate in non-contact work. Since an NFL quarterback wears a no-contact jersey normally, a normal practice could be considered non-contact.
After taking part in practice the rest of the week, the team announced on Thursday that an independent neurologist had cleared Griffin to play against the Ravens. Presumable that neurologist was Dr. Kurtzke, although the press release did not give a name.
The one- to two-week tie frame for resting Griffin makes for an interesting timetable. If the rest period ends up being at the longer end, he could miss some or all of the practice time for the Redskins’ regular-season opener vs. the Dolphins. That game is two weeks from Sunday.
Kirk Cousins was going to go into the Ravens game after Griffin left, presumably sometime in the third quarter. It seems likely that Cousins will now start the game but we have no official word at this point.
The reversal is certainly unusual if not unprecedented. It calls into question the wisdom of the team allowing him to practice less than 72 hours after he left the playing surface at FedEx Field. However, he did have to be cleared by medical personnel before doing that so the team was not necessarily acting irresponsibly in letting Griffin practice.
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