Three days after spraining his knee, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was just a little gimpy on the practice field and very cagey behind the microphone
He likes his chances of playing Sunday, but he and coach Mike Shanahan want to keep the Cleveland Browns guessing as long as possible.
Wearing his No. 10 jersey and a black knee brace underneath his sweatpants on a chilly day, Griffin high-stepped and moved laterally with barely a hitch as he stretched, then favored his right leg during throwing drills as the Redskins began on-field preparations for this week's game.
"Sunday night, I thought there was probably no chance that I could play the next week," Griffin said. "And then Monday morning, I felt better about it. Yesterday, I felt better about it. And today I feel really good about it, so it just depends on if I continue to progress the way I am."
So, to cut to the case, Griffin was asked if he expects to play Sunday.
"I can't tell you all that," he answered. "First, I don't want to give the Cleveland Browns a competitive advantage. And I don't want to let anybody down, so I don't want to say that I'll be playing and end up not playing."
Griffin has a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, a favorable diagnosis considering the scary hit to his leg from defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a scramble late in regulation in Washington's 31-28 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
"I was the happiest guy in the world on Monday to be blessed with the injury that I did have," Griffin said, "after looking at it so many times."
Still, the Redskins (7-6), who have won four straight to move within a game of the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East, are trying their best to keep Griffin's status shrouded in mystery. They closed practice to the media after 20 minutes, in compliance with NFL rules. And even Griffin — who at one point waved to reporters watching his every move — admitted that there was a public relations aspect to his participation.
"Coming out here and doing what I did in practice, it's kind of a showcase for you guys to see me move around, and that I'm not on crutches or limping or anything like that," Griffin said. "But it's also for (my teammates) to see that I'm OK, and if I do step out there between those lines that they don't have to worry about me."
Griffin was officially listed as "limited" in practice, and neither he nor backup Kirk Cousins would say who took most of the work with the starting offense.
"I was advised not to comment on the rep distribution," Cousins said. "So I'm sorry, but I'm not going to say anything along those lines, just to protect my team and give us the best chance to win on Sunday."
Shanahan was also naturally vague about his No. 2 overall draft pick.
"I was impressed with how he worked and what he did," the coach said. "We'll see at the end of the week if he's full-speed and ready to go. And if he is, he'll play."
Shanahan was asked if he plans to string out the announcement as long as possible, even if he already knows who will start.
"Probably," he said with a smile. "Why did you ask that silly question?"
Griffin did offer some insight into the factors that will help determine whether he will play. He said he wants to be able to make "instinctive moves without thinking about it" and that he was able to accomplish that to some extent Wednesday.
Griffin also said planting and throwing is "not a problem" and that it has become much easier to walk up and down steps as the leg loosens up and the swelling goes down.
"If I can give the team the best chance to win, then I'll play," Griffin said. "And if I can ensure my safety out there and my health and my career, then I'll go out there and play. And if not, then I won't."
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