WASHINGTON — Adrian Peterson set a high standard this season for returning from major knee surgery, the Viking nearly breaking the NFL rushing record.
Robert Griffin III need look nowhere else for inspiration as the Redskins quarterback begins the road back from Wednesday's operation 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 Peterson.
Griffin's lateral collateral ligament was repaired and his ACL reconstructed for a second time.His father, Robert Griffin II, said the ACL was not completely torn.
"Robert's ACL is intact but not enough for his profession,'' he said in a text message to USA Today. "You and I could be fine. But he is an athlete. So they will replace."
The surgery was performed in Florida by orthopedist James Andrews, who was optimistic Griffin would play next season.
"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 Griffin tore the same ACL in 2009 while at Baylor.
University of Maryland team physician Craig Bennett said players typically need 7-11 months to return from a second ACL reconstruction but it often takes up to a year for the ligament to fully heal.
"Typically, your first season back from an ACL reconstruction, there's a tendency to have some struggles from time to time," Bennett said.
Peterson tore his left ACL on Dec. 24, 2011. Paine said his focus and intensity in rehab and natural athletic gifts made the quick recovery possible.
Griffin sounded upbeat on Twitter shortly before surgery: "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, who sustained a concussion Oct. 7 against the Falcons, sprained the LCL at the end of a 13-yard scramble Dec. 9 on a hit by Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata. He missed one game then played three with a bulky brace.
Sunday against the Seahawks, Griffin hurt the knee again when he fell awkwardly while throwing a pass late in the first quarter. He convinced coach Mike Shanahan to leave him in the game.
He left with 6:19 to play in the game after the knee buckled while trying to field a bad shotgun snap.