TAKOMA PARK, Md. (WUSA) -- ACL injuries have ended the careers of many athletes.
But treatment these days works a lot better -- and surgical repair is now common.
Dr. Christopher Magee at Washington Adventist Hospital has done hundreds of them, and he says if anyone has the intensity and motivation to recover from this, it's RG3.
The anterior cruciate ligament lies just behind your kneecap in the center of your knee. "RG3 had an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament, and also to his lateral collateral ligament," says Dr. Magee.
Surgeons often cut a strip from the center of the patellar ligament over the kneecap, and saw out small cylinders of bone connected at either end. with a cylindric connected piece of bone from either end. Then they thread that through holes they've drilled in the upper and lower leg bones. That construct ends up replacing the ACL.
But because RG3 had already had ACL surgery in college, team sources say the surgeon was expected to take the patellar ligament graft from his left leg. "You cannot do it twice," says Dr. Magee. "They used the mid-portion of his patellar tendon from his opposite knee. So I'm told. I only know what I read."
The surgeon also had to repair the quarterback's lcl. "The lateral portion, the LCL, stabilizes the side of the knee. Essentially, it prevents the knee from opening up."
Dr Magee says ACL surgery can be done through arthroscopically through tiny incisions. The LCL is repaired with a bigger cut in the side of the knee. "Sometimes graft material will be used to take the place of a badly damaged lateral collateral ligament. Sometimes it can be sewn together and augmented with local material around here," says Dr. Magee, gesturing at a model of a knee.
After surgery, it takes month simply for the tough tendons and bone grafts to reattach themselves.
"Do you think he's going to be just as explosive as he was?" "If anybody can come back from something like this, it's a player of RGIII's calibre."
Dr. Magee says you can have one or two ACL surgeries -- but he's not too hopeful of a good outcome if RG3 has to have another one after this.
So a lot of people are praying this is the last time.
WRITTEN AND REPORTED BY BRUCE LESHAN
9NEWS NOW & WUSA9.COM