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Griffin has to prove on the practice field he’s ready to play, Shanahan says

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III practiced Wednesday after spraining the LCL his right knee Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. (John McDonnell/Washington Post)

It’s what Robert Griffin III does on the practice field, not what he says, that will matter most this week to Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan when it comes time to decide whether Griffin will play Sunday at Cleveland, Shanahan said.

“I’ve had players tell me that they can go, they’re ready to go, and you can see they aren’t ready to go,” Shanahan said following Wednesday’s practice, in which Griffin was a limited participant three days after suffering a mild sprain of a ligament in his right knee.

“You go by your experience, just being out there evaluating people. A lot of players will tell you a lot of different things. But you can see if somebody’s ready to practice or ready to play. You go through your experience at that position or other positions and you try to do what’s right.”

Shanahan said he will take input from others, though.

“Obviously when you’re making a decision like that,” he said, “you’re talking with a number of people.”

The risk of Griffin further injuring his knee will be considered as part of the decision-making process, Shanahan said.

“I think you take all that into consideration when you make a decision,” Shanahan said. “You’re looking at him every day and how he’s practicing in comparison to what he could do before, when he was completely healthy. You try to evaluate him on the field. Not what he’s telling you. Exactly what you see. And then you make a decision what’s the best thing for him as well as your football team.”

But practice-field performance often is the best barometer of game-day performance, according to Shanahan.

“You get a chance to watch him every day in practice,” he said. “I get a good gut feel if a guy can play or not when you watch him every day and you see what he does on the practice field and how it will carry over in the game. If he can’t do it on the practice field, the chances are he’s not going to be able to do it during the game. So we’ll evaluate that through the week and then make a decision what’s the best for him and what’s the best for our football team.”

Shanahan said he was impressed and surprised by what Griffin was able to do Wednesday on the practice field after the hit he took Sunday from Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata.

“When I took a look at that blow on TV, I didn’t think he would be able to do the things he did today,” Shanahan said.