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BY ZAC BOYER
There will be no greater reminder of the Washington Redskins' recent failed playoff run than the sight of Robert Griffin III's wobbly right knee bending awkwardly beneath him.
The rookie quarterback embodied so much potential for the ill-fated franchise, especially as he piled up multiple victories and collected a variety of records throughout the season.
But as he turned to pick up a loose ball late in the Redskins' eventual loss to Seattle, his knee corkscrewing underneath him into the pockmarked turf at FedEx Field, hope turned to horror.
It was later determined the 22-year-old had damaged two ligaments in his right knee, both of which he has had previous issues with--the lateral collateral ligament, which he had stretched in a game nearly a month before, and the anterior cruciate ligament, which he tore in 2009 when he was a sophomore at Baylor.
Dr. James Andrews, a renowned orthopedic surgeon considered among the best in his field, performed a roughly 4-hour surgery to repair both ligaments early Wednesday morning.
Once considered the end of a player's career, medical advances have made returning from an ACL injury more likely than ever.
No more than 24 hours after his surgery was complete, Griffin was eager to begin his rehabilitation, focused on the possibility of returning for the start of the 2013
TRYING A TENDON GRAFT
The ACL is one of four ligaments that are responsible for the strength and stability of the knee. Combined with the posterior cruciate ligament, it governs bending and extending the knee and prevents it from sliding back and forth.
Those two ligaments are located inside the knee, while the LCL and the medial collateral ligament run along the outside of the knee.
It is not uncommon for anyone who leads a less-active lifestyle to tear the ACL and never have it repaired. One can regain the range of motion necessary through physical therapy, though the knee will always be less stable than before the injury.
According to a 2011 study by Washington University in St. Louis, more than 200,000 ACL reconstruction surgeries take place in the United States each year, with anywhere between 1 percent and 8 percent of those replacements failing and requiring a second operation.