- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III returned to the practice field Wednesday and participated in individual drills for the first time since suffering a dislocated left ankle Sept. 14.

Coach Jay Gruden said Griffin will once again be the team’s starter upon his return, whenever that might be.

“Once they say he’s healthy and he practices with us and we feel like he’s ready to go mentally and we have a good game plan for him, he’ll be the starter,” Gruden said. “But I don’t know when that’ll be yet. It’s hard for me to project. Could be one week, two weeks. Could be five weeks. I don’t know yet.”

Griffin was not permitted to speak to the media Wednesday.

He jogged on the field before Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals but had not participated in practice since the injury until Wednesday.

In the portion of practice open to the media, the third-year quarterback stretched with the team and threw passes to wide receivers alongside the team’s other quarterbacks. Griffin’s accuracy varied but the ankle did not appear to limit his movement.

SEE ALSO: Leonard Hankerson, Stephen Bowen set to return to Redskins’ practice

“He looks good so far,” Gruden said. “He’s making good progress, as we knew he would [with] the type of worker he is. But he’s making progress in the training room, making progress on the practice field are two entirely different things. And we’ve just got to make sure he’s right, both mentally and physically, before he gets back on the field.”

Gruden said he does not have a timetable for when Griffin will return to the lineup. He could return as early as next week, before the team’s Monday night meeting with Dallas, or, perhaps more realistically, after the bye in Week 10.

“There’s a fine line between rushing too soon and getting your best players on the field when they’re healthy,” Gruden said. “If he feels like he’s healthy, then he’s going to play. And until that time comes, until the doctors tell me he’s healthy, until Robert says he’s healthy, then we’ll just have to wait.

“Any time you’re a professional football player, you’ve had an injury and you come back, if you try to be careful and, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I should lower my shoulder in this tackle,’ or, ‘I don’t know if I should run and do the zone read,’ or all that stuff, you’re going to have problems and issues. You won’t be effective. His most effective trait is his versatility, and if he can’t play with that type of versatility and running with the football, then he won’t be himself.”

Griffin’s injury opened a door for backup quarterback Kirk Cousins to prove himself in a starting role and potentially supplant Griffin atop the depth chart. Cousins has completed 61.7 percent of his passes in four starts this season, but he has also thrown eight interceptions, all in the second half. 

Cousins said Griffin’s impending return will not affect how he approaches his job.

“It can’t affect my preparation,” Cousins said. “And if it does, I’m not going to be where I need to be. He needs to get ready, he needs to do what he needs to do to be ready to go. However that gets worked out is great for the team. I’ll do the best I can with the reps that I get and go back to controlling what I can control, focusing what I can do and not worrying about what I can’t change.” 

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