Robert Griffin III not yet ruled out for this week, says source, contradicting WR Pierre Garcon

December 11, 2012

Robert Griffin III in pain on the turf at FedEx Field after his injury Sunday. (NIck Wass/AP)

Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon told ESPN Tuesday that backup quarterback Kirk Cousins will start against Cleveland Sunday. But a person familiar with the Redskins’ planning quickly said the team has not ruled out starting Robert Griffin III, despite Griffin’s mild knee sprain.

“Now we have a little bit tougher task,” Garcon said on ESPN. “We have Kirk starting. We have to play well around Kirk so Kirk doesn’t feel like he has to try to save the team. We have to help him to be as comfortable as possible.”

But the person, echoing what Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday, said team officials had “no idea” why Garcon made the statement during his televised interview because there had been “no change” in the Redskins’ quarterback deliberations. Shanahan said at his news conference Monday that the possibility of Griffin playing against the Browns “definitely” had not been ruled out.

When questioned further about Cousins starting, Garcon appeared to backpedal a bit,  saying: “We have to prepare for the worst.”

Shanahan said Monday he didn’t know whether Griffin would be able to practice Wednesday or play Sunday. He said Griffin’s knee would be evaluated on a daily basis all week.

Shanahan said the Redskins’ would do what is in Griffin’s best interests. Taking such an approach, Shanahan said, generally is in the team’s best interests as well. Griffin’s father, Robert Griffin Jr., wrote in a text message Monday to a Washington Post reporter that he expected his son to play.

Griffin suffered a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, Shanahan announced Monday. Griffin was hit by Baltimore Ravens’ lineman Haloti Ngata  late in the fourth quarter of Washington’s overtime win Sunday. Cousins replaced Griffin and engineered the 31-28 victory.

Griffin suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee in 2009 while he was at Baylor.

Cousins would make his first NFL start Sunday if Griffin does not play, with the Redskins very much in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Mark Maske covers the NFL for The Washington Post.
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