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Robert Griffin III: The Brace, Not The Knee, Is Now The Biggest Limitation

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Nearly a full month after spraining the LCL in his right knee, Robert Griffin III said the brace the Washington Redskins’ medical staff has asked him to wear on his right knee is mostly what’s preventing his mobility – not the ligament itself.

Griffin III

Griffin injured the knee during the Redskins’ overtime victory over Baltimore on Dec. 9, and Washington’s next game, the first-round playoff game against Seattle on Sunday, will complete the roughly month-long recovery period outlined by the team’s medical staff.

The quarterback missed the game at Cleveland on Dec. 16, then returned Dec. 23 at Philadelphia. Head coach Mike Shanahan said Griffin tried multiple braces in practice leading up to the game against the Eagles before deciding on one he could comfortably play in.

“Any time you wear a brace like that, it’s to protect you, so it’s going to cause a natural limp,” Griffin said Wednesday. “You’re not going to be able to bend your knee normally. It restricts your flexion and your extension. It’s just to protect the ligaments in there, so there’ll be a natural limp in there. At the same time, you can still generate power.”

Griffin’s limitations with the brace were evident in Washington’s 28-18 recent victory over Dallas, as the quarterback appeared less explosive when taking off with the ball on designed runs or scrambles.

Still, Griffin ran six times for 63 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, which marked the most yards he’d gained on the ground since Dec. 3 against the New York Giants.

“He’s wearing it so we can protect him,” Shanahan said. “He probably doesn’t have to wear it, but the doctors thought it would be best for him to wear it to protect it so we don’t further injure the LCL. Like I said last week, he still can run well.”

The quarterback completed a season-low nine of 18 attempts for 100 yards against the Cowboys, and his inaccuracy early appeared as though it could have been a result of the knee.

Dallas did not allow Redskins receivers to get open on a handful of plays in the first half, and Griffin appeared to have forced ill-advised throws on plays on which he may, earlier in the season, have decided to run.

But the quarterback said that wasn’t the case, citing his success running the ball at other points in the game as a reason why he could have gained yards while running had he chosen to do so.

“One time I did break the pocket and ran all the way to the sideline across the field and no one got open,” Griffin said. “Sometimes, there are going to be dead plays whether I scramble or don’t scramble. I don’t think any of it was based on that.”

At one point in Wednesday’s practice, Griffin retreated to the sidelines to have one of the team’s athletic trainers refasten the brace on his knee.

He said he’ll occasionally try to go through practice without the brace, which typically results in head athletic trainer Larry Hess ordering him to put it on.

Whether he has to wear the brace the rest of the season – be it one game or more – remains uncertain.

“My leg – I can feel it healing,” Griffin said. “I might not wear the brace this week. I’m sure Larry Hess is shaking his head downstairs right now, but we’ll see what happens. There is no ‘rest of the season’ right now. We just have to focus on Seattle.”

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