Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice was diagnosed with a medial collateral ligament sprain in his left knee after undergoing an MRI exam Monday, according to multiple people with knowledge of the results. The team placed him on injured reserve Tuesday for the second time this season, ending his 2019 campaign after just five games.

The injury, which occurred during the second quarter of Sunday’s 20-15 loss at the Green Bay Packers, is not considered to be as serious as his two previous knee injuries, which caused him to miss most of his first two NFL seasons.

Guice wrote on Twitter that he was thankful the injury wasn’t worse, and that he initially worried he had broken his leg and ankle.

“It was [definitely] planted really firm,” Guice tweeted. “I thought I broke my leg and my ankle.. you can’t tell from that angle but my knee went in pretty good before my feet came off the ground.”

Guice added in a tweet Tuesday morning, “Blessed… it could’ve been way worse!!”

The MCL sprain represents the latest setback in what has been an injury-filled start to the running back’s NFL career. Guice tore the ACL in his left knee during the team’s first preseason game last year and missed all of his rookie campaign. He then tore the meniscus in his right knee in the 2019 season opener, sidelining him for nine games.

Guice had been performing well since coming off injured reserve, including his most productive game as a pro two weeks ago in a win over the Carolina Panthers, during which he recorded 129 yards on 10 carries and the first two rushing touchdowns of his career.

NFL Network first reported the news of Guice’s MCL sprain.

The MCL is a stabilizing ligament on the inside portion of the knee, according to Dr. Samuel Taylor, an orthopedic surgeon who practices sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Taylor, who has not treated Guice and isn’t familiar with the details of his case, said sprains are typically considered a low-grade injury compared with a high-grade tear.

“There’s kind of iterations everywhere in between,” Taylor said. “Tear indicates a greater severity; sprain typically indicates a lower severity.”

Taylor added that surgery is required less often for MCL injuries than it is for ACL injuries.

“The MCL, unlike the ACL, has a high degree of healing potential on its own," he said.

Guice, a second-round draft pick in 2018, required multiple procedures to fix the torn ACL he suffered in August 2018, because the knee became infected. The 5-foot-11, 225-pounder worked his way back to be ready for this season, and then-coach Jay Gruden declared in the preseason that the Redskins’ offense would run through Guice. But Guice tore his meniscus in Week 1 at the Philadelphia Eagles.

He returned in Week 11, had begun to put together some strong performances and was off to a good start against the Packers. He rushed for 42 yards on five carries and went down at the end of a 23-yard run.

The Redskins are likely to replace Guice’s workload by giving more carries to starter Adrian Peterson and pass-catching backs Chris Thompson and Wendell Smallwood. Josh Ferguson was promoted from the practice squad to add another running back.

The 22-year-old Guice quickly became a fan favorite upon his arrival with the Redskins. He’s known for his energy, rugged running style and interactions with fans. He spent long periods signing autographs after training camp practices and took a group of fans to watch a movie.

“This guy’s upbeat, he’s positive, he’s got more energy than the entire building,” Callahan said Monday, “so it ain’t going to hamper him or stifle him or hold him back by any means. I love the guy. I love his energy and what he brings to the table every day, how he comes into the meeting room, how he goes to the practice field. He’s just a bundle of energy, and he gives us a catalyst that most teams don’t have.”

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