Robert Griffin III Aiming To Return Against Eagles After Full Practice Wednesday
ASHBURN – The decision to keep Robert Griffin III out of the Washington Redskins’ game at Cleveland four days ago did not sit well with the quarterback, who argued he felt fine and had no concerns over his sprained right knee in practice all week.
If Griffin sits out of the Redskins’ game at Philadelphia on Sunday, he may be much more than upset.
Griffin completed a full practice on Wednesday for the first time since spraining the LCL in his right knee against Baltimore on Dec. 9 and, pending official clearance from the team’s medical staff, is in line to make his return against the Eagles.
“I’m ready to play whenever they want me to play – whether it’s this week, next week, a couple weeks,” Griffin said. “Whatever they say goes, so I’ll be ready.”
Griffin looked fine in a limited appearance in practice all of last week but maintained he’d be ready despite the limited work with his teammates. Ultimately, the decision centered around Griffin’s readiness – or, more accurately, that of his knee.
Though the quarterback showed only minor discomfort in planting his foot and making his throws during the week, the question was how well the right knee would hold up under the pressure of a whole game. Could he escape the pocket, if need be? Could he withstand a tackle?
Could there be any further damage to the ligament if, or more likely when, either situation occurred?
The Redskins erred on the side of caution, officially anointing Kirk Cousins as the starter the night before and listing Griffin as inactive the morning of the game.
With Griffin’s return to practice Wednesday, however, only two major hurdles remain – if there’s any swelling in his knee from the heavy workload, and whether he will receive that medical clearance to play by Sunday.
“They’re gonna look at him, and if they feel like that [ligament] is strong and he feels like there’s no setbacks … I think you’ll be able to look at it tomorrow and watch him practice tomorrow and hopefully there’s no swelling,” head coach Mike Shanahan said after practice. “You just don’t know. We’ll look at it tomorrow and hopefully they’ll tell us it is full-go, but I’m not sure when they’re going to make that decision.”
Cousins, who started for Griffin against the Browns, seemed ready to return to a backup role Wednesday afternoon. He completed 26 of 37 passes for 329 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Cleveland and was nominated for the NFC offensive player of the week award, but did not win.
“Certainly, Robert is healing,” Cousins said. “As more time passes getting away from his injury, he’ll be able to recover.”
Griffin voiced his displeasure with the decision after the game, remarking three times in five minutes that not playing against the Browns upset him.
Shanahan said he was happy to hear the competitor in Griffin speak out, especially because he wanted to play while injured.
“I know he was hurting, but there’s a difference between being hurt and being injured,” Shanahan said. “When the doctor feels it’s in his best interest not to play, then you go with the doctors. But his mindset – [that] he was just hurt – gives you an idea of what type of competitor he is. He doesn’t want to let his teammates down. He’s got guys out there that he knows are hurting quite a bit.
“Very few players at this time of year are completely healthy, and when they see the quarterback wanting to go out there and risk maybe a possible career to help their football team win, players know they’re made of the right stuff.”