- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2012

We apparently can add one more item to the long list of Robert Griffin III’s physical gifts. His right knee can withstand a direct blow from a charging 330-pound nose tackle.

Griffin emerged from a knee-contorting, cringe-inducing tackle Sunday with only a mildly sprained lateral collateral ligament, coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.

The Washington Redskins‘ franchise quarterback might be able to play Sunday in a critical road game against the Cleveland Browns. That’s one of the best prognoses Griffin and the team could have hoped for after trainers helped him off the field in the decisive moments of Washington’s 31-28 overtime win over Baltimore.

“It was a pretty nasty, awkward hit,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “For him not to be seriously injured is a blessing.”

The Redskins medical staff will evaluate Griffin daily this week. The sprain is classified as Grade 1. That means the ligament that stabilizes the knee by attaching to the thigh bone and fibula on the outside of the knee either was stretched or slightly torn.

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is lays on the ground after getting hit hard by Baltimore Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata (92) in the first half at FedEx Field in Landover Md., on Sunday, December 9, 2012. (Craig Bisacre/The Washington Times)
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is lays on the ground ... more >

Griffin’s status for Sunday should crystallize by Thursday, according to a source. Shanahan, meanwhile, conveyed optimism that Griffin will be able to help the Redskins extend their four-game winning streak and improve their standing in the NFC playoff race.

“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.

Griffin was not made available to reporters Monday. Williams, however, talked to him.

“He is doing well,” Williams said. “He is in high spirits.”

So began a week that figures to be rife with speculation.

Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for a late touchdown and ran for the game-tying two-point conversion Sunday after Griffin was injured. That inspired widespread confidence that he could lead the Redskins to victory over Cleveland if necessary.

Griffin and Cousins are rookies with different skill sets, so some concepts in this week’s game plan likely will vary depending on who is playing quarterback.

The Redskins experienced a similar situation in early October after Griffin suffered a concussion against Atlanta. The following week, he participated in each practice at least to some extent.

Griffin’s elite speed enables the Redskins to incorporate quarterback option runs and play-action passes. Cousins, a fourth-round pick, is mobile and can extend plays with his legs, but he’s not a game-breaking runner like Griffin.

“You try to adjust the offense to your personnel regardless of who’s in the game,” Shanahan said. “Both of them will have a game plan. Obviously, Robert can do some things in the running game that Kirk can’t. We’ll put the best game plan we can together.”

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