ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins are optimistic that Robert Griffin III will return this season.
Less clear is how much more Griffin can take before the “injury-prone” label supersedes anything else he accomplishes in his NFL career.
An MRI exam Monday revealed that Griffin doesn’t have any broken bones to go with his dislocated left ankle, which means he doesn’t need season-ending surgery and could theoretically return in a couple of months if all goes well with his rehab. Kirk Cousins will be the starting quarterback for much — if not all — of the rest of the year.
“This game, we only get to play it for such a short period of time,” safety Ryan Clark said. “So, for me, it’s more just being sad for Rob. The football part of it goes on.”
Griffin was hurt when his left ankle planted awkwardly into the turf during the first quarter of the Sunday’s 41-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The scene was familiar: Griffin lying on the turf, the crowd murmuring with concern, teammates offering support. His tears spoke volumes.
Griffin missed all or part of four games during his record-setting rookie season of 2012, yielding the field to Cousins because of a concussion and later due to injuries to a right knee that eventually had to be surgically reconstructed for a second time. In 2013, he missed part of one game with a tweaked left knee and was benched for the final three games by coach Mike Shanahan.
Now the quarterback with the world-class sprinter’s body has broken down again.
His MRI results will be sent to a specialist for further analysis, and coach Jay Gruden said he won’t have a timetable for Griffin’s return until the leg has been in a cast for a few weeks.
Gruden said there’s “no consideration” at this point of putting Griffin on season-ending injured reserve. The coach answered “yes” when asked whether he was optimistic about having the franchise player back in 2014.
“You’re sick about it,” Gruden said, “because you spend a lot of time with Robert, getting him ready and you watch how much passion he has for the game and how seriously he takes his job and what kind of will he has to succeed. And he’s such a great kid on and off the field that you hate for something like this to happen to somebody.
“It’s just a bump in the road for him. It’s another little bit of adversity he’s going to have to overcome. And part of being a quarterback is your mental toughness and ability to overcome adversity, and he’s done it in the past, he’ll do it again and we have total faith that he’ll bounce back and be as good as ever soon.”
Gruden said he doesn’t think the list of injuries should cast doubt on Griffin’s durability.
“The more injuries mount on him, it just becomes an issue, I guess, for a lot of people to think that his durability’s in question. ... I think they’re just fluke injuries,” Gruden said.