- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2012

Robert Griffin III has a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Monday. The quarterback will be monitored day-by-day.

Shanahan said he’s “definitely” not ruling Griffin out for Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns.

“We’re going to do what we think is in Robert’s best interests, and usually, when we do that, it’s what’s in the team’s best interests as well,” Shanahan said. “We’re not going to put him out there if we don’t think he’s completely healthy and he can’t do the things that will help us win.”

Griffin suffered a Grade 1 sprain, according to Shanahan. By definition, a sprain is a ligament tear, but Grade 1 is the least significant. Shanahan said there was some mild swelling in the knee, but there was no damage to any other ligaments, including the ACL.

It’s uncertain if Griffin will practice Wednesday. He’ll get treatment every day, and “we’ll evaluate him during the week and see where he’s at,” Shanahan said.

The coach will have a keen eye on Griffin during practice this week.

“[I’m looking to see] if he can help us. If he can help us play, he can play at full speed,” Shanahan said. “If a guy can’t play at full speed and he’s playing on one leg or 70 percent, there’s a good chance he could further injure himself. We’re not going to put him in that situation.”

Griffin could wear a brace on his right knee if he plays Sunday.

Griffin was hurt with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens. He left for one play and then returned for four more before finally giving way to fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.

The initial injury happened when he was tackled by Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. There was some sense of relief that the injury wasn’t worse than a mild LCL sprain.

“You never know,” Shanahan said. “When I looked at it on film I thought it would be worse than it was.”

Griffin was allowed to re-enter Sunday’s game at the permission of Dr. James Andrews, the renowned surgeon who is the Redskins‘ senior orthopedic consultant. The rookie quarterback decided “enough was enough” a few plays later, and Cousins took over to finish the game-tying drive.

If Griffin cannot play at the Browns, the Redskins will turn the keys of the offense over to Cousins, a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State. He was 2-for-2 for 26 yards and a touchdown in relief of Griffin.

Shanahan was not forthcoming about which quarterback will be under center against Cleveland. Known for concealing information because he believes it’s an advantage, Shanahan wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s trying to make the Browns prepare for both.

“What I’m telling you is if you check with people what a Grade 1 means, that kind of gives you a good indication of where he’s at,” Shanahan said. “If it’s a Grade 2, I’d tell you if it was a Grade 2 or a Grade 3. A Grade 1 is mild swelling, so we’ll evaluate him during the week and see where he’s at.”

Shanahan wouldn’t say how the offense would change if it’s Cousins instead of Griffin.