From Comcast SportsNetWASHINGTON (AP) -- 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."
The Cubs already have a clear vision for their 2021 Opening Day lineup, when the images of superstars like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant can be plastered next to the iconic marquee at a fully renovated Wrigley Field.
But the Cubs don't really have a five-year window for pitching, given all the medical risks, the weaker spots in their farm system and a team built around big-name hitters. It's more survival mode, getting through a spring training lengthened by the World Baseball Classic, past the All-Star break and into October.
A blurry picture is coming into focus for 2017 – an industry source confirmed that Brett Anderson was in Chicago on Tuesday to undergo a physical – yet this uncertainty is still the fastest way to derail the next championship parade down Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue.
If healthy, Anderson would be a relatively low-risk, high-reward gamble for the defending World Series champs. Yahoo! Sports reported that the $3.5 million agreement includes incentives that could boost the deal's overall value to $10 million.
The Cubs need a sixth starter as a hedge against Mike Montgomery stalling during his first full season in a big-league rotation, or John Lackey feeling his age this year (38) or the stress from throwing almost 3,000 innings in The Show.
The Cubs know the history of nine-figure contracts for pitchers is littered with bad investments, and Jon Lester's left arm has already made it through 14 playoff rounds and accounted for nine straight seasons with at least 190 innings. Kyle Hendricks is a cerebral Cy Young Award finalist who doesn't have that much margin for error and will need to keep making adjustments and being unpredictable.
As much as Jake Arrieta tries to meditate and stay in the moment, every pitch he fires this year can be viewed through the prism of his looming free agency.
"We love Jake," team president Theo Epstein said after the Cubs settled on Arrieta's one-year, $15.6375 million contract, avoiding an arbitration hearing with the Scott Boras client. "We'd love for him to be around for a long time. But it's not the first time a talented core player has gone into the last year of his deal. It won't be the last time. It doesn't always mean the player's leaving.
"I'm sure at the appropriate time we'll have confidential conversations and see if now is the time to get something done, or we put it off until later. He knows how we feel about him. Years and dollars are always complicated. But I'm sure we'll take a stab at it."
The bottom line is the Cubs could be looking to replace 60 percent of their rotation next winter. Maybe Tyson Ross recovers from surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, returns to his All-Star form at some point during a one-year pillow contract with the Texas Rangers and proves worthy of a long-term commitment.
Perhaps the Cubs again target the star pitchers they once tried to lure out of Japan, with Yu Darvish positioned to become a free agent after this season and Masahiro Tanaka able to opt out of the final three years ($67 million) of his megadeal with the New York Yankees.
All along, the Cubs planned to flip young hitters for pitching. The same aggressive mentality that pushed Epstein's front office to send an elite prospect (Gleyber Torres) to the Yankees for rental closer Aroldis Chapman – and secure one season of Wade Davis without worrying about Jorge Soler living up to his enormous potential for the Kansas City Royals – will be in play if the team needs a rotation upgrade at the trade deadline this summer.
"We were in that phase for three-plus years where we were really single-minded about acquiring young talent," Epstein said during Cubs Convention in mid-January. "I remember at this very panel we'd talk about that and some of the questions were: Why are you trading all these players that we've heard of for guys we've never heard of?
"That was tough in one way, but those trades are a little bit easier for us to quote-unquote ‘win' those deals, because you're trading players who are at the end of their contracts. You're getting young prospects. We went out of our way to work really hard to make sure we hit on those trades – and luckily we did.
"But now we're in a phase where we have such a good team, when we have holes – and we're going to have holes, last year to get Chapman midseason, going forward we really have to address starting pitching – we're going to be on the other end of some of those trades.
"We're going to aggressively try to get really talented major-league players. It's always extremely painful for us to make some of those trades where we send prospects for established players. Those trades are hard to win. You're more likely to quote-unquote ‘lose' those trades.
"But the bottom line is we're not up here to pad our resume and make trades that we can look back on and say that we ‘won' those trades. We're up here to win World Series. And if those deals help us win World Series, that's what it's all about."
Maybe Anderson helps the Cubs get back to the postseason for the third straight season, something this franchise hasn't done since the 1907 and 1908 teams won back-to-back World Series titles.
Anderson will turn 29 on Feb. 1 and led the majors with a 66.3 groundball percentage in 2015, when he went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 starts and still accepted the one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Anderson's medical file includes: Tommy John surgery on his left elbow (2011); a strained right oblique (2012); disabled-list stints for a stress fracture in his right foot (2013) and a broken left index finger (2014); plus surgical procedures on his back (2014 and last March).
Anderson also has perspective as someone who grew up around the game. His father, Frank, is the University of Houston pitching coach and former head coach at Oklahoma State University.
Whether or not Anderson stays healthy, the Cubs are at a point where they will have to keep thinking bigger and bigger.
"We're always going to be committed to young players," Epstein said. "It's in our DNA to trust young players, to grow with young payers. But as painful as it is…you sometimes have to move those guys to make sure your major-league team has a legitimate chance to win the World Series.
"We're not doing it recklessly. It's not something that we want to do. But when you have a team that's really good – and you have a chance to win the whole thing – we think it's our obligation to make those deals from time to time."
Chris Hine (Chicago Tribune) and Brian Hedger (nhl.com) join Kap on the panel. Dwyane Wade talks about his future with the Bulls. Will he exercise his player option and return next year if the Bulls’ struggle continue? The guys talk NBA with CSNChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill.
How can Stan Bowman help Jonathan Toews at the deadline? And Dabo Swinney compares Deshaun Watson to Michael Jordan.