Quarterback Robert Griffin III will return to the Washington Redskins’ lineup this weekend at Philadelphia if doctors determine that the sprained lateral collateral ligament in his right knee has healed sufficiently for him to play, Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday.
Shanahan rejected the suggestion that the Redskins might consider exercising more caution than Griffin’s doctors recommend by giving backup Kirk Cousins a second straight start and Griffin another week of rest.
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“If the doctors give [their] okay, he’s going to play,” Shanahan said at his news conference Monday at Redskins Park. “That’s what we get paid for. That’s what these guys do. When you’ve got guys like [linebacker] London Fletcher and [left tackle] Trent Williams and a lot of guys are hobbled right now, we expect everybody to play if the doctors okay” it.
Shanahan put the responsibility for Griffin’s playing status on the quarterback’s doctors.
“We’re going to play Robert when he’s 100 percent,” Shanahan said. “When that ligament’s fine, when the doctors feel that there’s no chance for injury, that he can go out there and perform at the level in a game situation without injury, we’re going to go with our starter.”
The Redskins held Griffin out of Sunday’s 38-21 victory at Cleveland. Shanahan said after the game that doctors did not believe Griffin was ready to play, but Griffin expressed his displeasure with the decision. He suffered the injury a week earlier on a hit by Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata at the end of a scramble.
Cousins made his first NFL start Sunday and threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The Redskins extended their winning streak to five games, improved their record to 8-6 and moved into a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins hold the tiebreaker advantage and would capture the division title if they win their final two games, this Sunday against the Eagles and Dec. 30 against the Cowboys at FedEx Field.
Griffin participated in practices on a limited basis last week while Cousins worked with the starting offense during full team drills. Griffin was on the Redskins’ inactive list for Sunday’s game and was not in uniform as he watched the win from the sideline. Veteran Rex Grossman was in uniform as Cousins’s backup.
Shanahan declined to say whether doctors have said they expect Griffin to be ready to practice fully Wednesday or play Sunday.
“Like I said, it’s day by day,” Shanahan said. “They’re going to look at him every day, see his improvement. And when they feel like that LCL is ready to go and he can play, they’ll let me know.”