- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Washington Redskins’ locker room was almost empty by the time Robert Griffin III finally got to his stall Wednesday afternoon. He and the other two quarterbacks stayed after practice to throw to receivers. Then Griffin hosted a 12-minute news conference that ESPN televised. 

Linebacker Chris Wilson was nearby when Griffin arrived, which was sufficient. Griffin was too excited to keep it to himself, and Wilson was an available listener.

Griffin talked up how live his throwing arm was during practice, the product of last week’s unwelcome hiatus due to a mildly sprained right knee.

Wednesday’s session was auspicious overall. Griffin is on track to start Sunday against Philadelphia after fully participating in practice with the first-string offense.

“I felt good,” Griffin said. “It was exciting to get back out there and practice with everybody. I’m ready to play whenever they want me to play.”

He said he felt no weakness or instability in his knee after taking live reps at full speed.

Doctors on Thursday will evaluate how Griffin’s lateral collateral ligament responded to Wednesday’s workload.

“Hopefully there’s no setback, no swelling with the knee,” coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’ll be evaluated through the week, and when the doctors tell me the [ligament] is ready to go, I’ll announce when he’s ready to go.

“They’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.”

Griffin moved fine during the brief period of practice open to media. He planted on his injured right leg and threw a variety of passes, as he did last week. He also practiced rolling out.

“Last week he was moving pretty good, too, but he did look good today,” Shanahan said.

After practice, Griffin stood in one place and threw 15-yard passes to receiver Pierre Garcon, who was stationary.

Garcon seconded Griffin’s assessment of his velocity.

“He had some time off, so he got some energy and strength back into it to get some hard throws,” Garcon said.

Griffin’s prognosis, then, seems quite favorable as the Redskins move toward Sunday’s critical game. They would clinch their first division title in 13 years by winning that game and against Dallas on Dec. 30.

Team doctors “are going to keep playing it by sight, come out, watch me, and then figure out what they think the best progression is for me,” Griffin said.

Meanwhile, quarterback Kirk Cousins returned to his backup role three days after leading the Redskins to a convincing road win over the Cleveland Browns.

Last week, he worked with the first-string offense. He usually practices only with the scout team.

Cousins was critical of the four failed series with which the Redskins began Sunday’s game, but he believes the extended playing time and positive results helped him grow.

“I view every opportunity I get as a chance to sell myself to these coaches here in D.C., to 31 other coaches, 31 other teams,” he said. “Every opportunity I get, I want to make the most of it and be fully prepared for those moments when they come.”

Cousins debuted for reporters — and an ESPN audience — a new buzz haircut and cracked up reporters with the story of how he ended up with it.

On Monday, he caught video of his postgame news conference from the previous day and decided he needed a haircut.

“The lady who cut my hair wasn’t speaking English all that clearly,” Cousins said. “There was a communication breakdown. And she basically gave me a mohawk.

“I had my glasses on; she took them off to cut my hair. I couldn’t stop her obviously because I couldn’t see. She wheels me back around, I look in the mirror, realize I have a mohawk and I tell her, ‘Just shave it off, I don’t know what to tell you.’ She just buzzed it off, and I’ve got to live with this for the next couple of weeks until it grows back.”

Cousins truly was embarrassed.

“The tough thing was I didn’t realize until that moment when she shaved it that I do have a receding hairline,” he said. “That was tough to take. My dad is more or less completely bald, and I was hoping that I wasn’t going to get his genes, but it clearly looks like I did. I’ve got to deal with that for the rest of my life now.”

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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