Late in their win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Robert Griffin III suffered a nasty hit from Haloti Ngata, one that looked like Griffin sustained a serious knee injury. Fortunately for the Washington Redskins, an MRI Monday revealed he only has a grade one LCL sprain, which does not necessarily rule him out for the game against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.
That said, there is no way Mike Shanahan should allow RGIII to play Sunday.
The Redskins are in the playoff hunt and this game is very important for their 2012 season, but the long term effects from playing Griffin could do serious damage. What happens if he takes another wrong hit to the knee? Griffin tore his ACL with Baylor in 2009, so at least one of his knees are already fragile. No matter which one he tears, it would be a disaster for a franchise heading in the right direction.
If he tears the one he tore before, that knee will never be the same, and if he tears the other one now we’re talking about a guy with two fragile knees. The biggest question mark surrounding RGIII coming out was his durability. His Heisman-winning season in 2011 was the only fully healthy year he had in college.
Pierre Garcon speculated backup Kirk Cousins would start against the Browns, and that’s exactly what needs to happen. Even if he looks good in practice Shanahan cannot take chances with Griffin’s long-term health.
Not to mention, the Redskins should be able to beat the Browns with or without Griffin. Cousins has proven he can get the job done in the limited times he’s played. He obviously is not RGIII and even a limited version would be better than Cousins, but the Redskins don’t need to risk the state of their franchise for one game, even if it has playoff implications.