Griffin returns to practice for Redskins

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 20 2012 06:04 PM | Updated as of Dec 21 2012 02:04 AM

WASHINGTON - Washington Redskins star rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III returned to practice on Wednesday after suffering a sprained right knee, confident he can play Sunday and lead his team to the NFL playoffs.

"I was able to go through a full practice. That felt good," Griffin said. "I was able to get back out there and get ready. I feel really good. It has been a gradual improvement. It just takes rest and time. It was a matter of time."

Griffin missed last week's game at Cleveland, where the Redskins stretched their win streak to five games, the club's longest since 2005, and moved into a share of the NFC East division lead at 8-6 with Dallas and the New York Giants.

The Redskins control their own destiny and will capture the division crown, and their first playoff berth since the 2005 season, by winning at Philadelphia (4-10) on Sunday and a week later at home against Dallas.

"That's the mission we're still on. Guys can't get happy now. We still have one game to work on and another game after that," Griffin said.

"We'll take them as far as momentum goes, but we're not thinking about those games or the win streak when we go into a game each week."

Washington began the win streak with a 31-6 triumph over Philadelphia and a 38-31 victory at Dallas.

Griffin, known as "RG3" and with the NFL's best-selling replica jersey, said there are no strained relations with team doctors or coach Mike Shanahan for benching him last week when he felt he could have played.

"They are going to try to protect me from myself at all times," Griffin said.

"I'm ready to play when they want me to play. Whenever they say go, I'll be ready to go. I think I have to prove it to them on the field, running around and making the plays. I always expect to play.

"They are going to keep playing it by sight, keep watching me and see what they think the best progression is for me."

The Redskins, who have reached the playoffs only once since the 1999 season, began the season 3-6 but have turned the season around under Griffin, who has thrown for 2,902 yards in his first NFL campaign.

"We said don't freak out, don't jump ship -- just because we started 3-6 doesn't mean we can't do what we want to do and still win," Griffin said.

Supporters were nervous when Griffin went down with a knee injury but rookie Kirk Cousins replaced him and sparked a Washington triumph, then guided the team to victory at Cleveland last week.

"It was frustrating for me but once we stepped on the field I was all for the team and all for Kirk," Griffin said. "You can't be a cancer for the team.

"It was good to see it from the sideline and watch it all week. You can be unhappy about something but you still have to learn. You can still learn a lot sitting around and watching for a week."

That's not what he plans on doing during workouts this week, especially after earning praise in his comeback practice from receiver Pierre Garcon.

"Pierre told me my arm was live today," Griffin said. "When you don't work with those guys for a week, you come back juiced up and excited."

Despite Griffin's optimism, Cousins is working out as if he will get the call again on Sunday.

"I'm still focusing and prerparing on my opportunity to play. I have to be ready to go," Cousins said.

"I look at this as an opportunity to sell myself to these coaches here and 31 other coaches. I have to be ready to show what I can do because I'm not going to have two or three years worth of games to show what I can do."

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