Well, everybody in Washington can breathe again now. Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan announced at his Monday news conference that quarterback Robert Griffin III, who represents the hopes and dreams of every Redskins fan for a playoff push, a joyous holiday season, world peace and their children's chances for a decent college education, has a Grade 1 sprain of the lateral collateral ligament of his right knee. If you can pick which ligament you want to sprain, the LCL is the one you'd pick, and Shanahan said there's a chance Griffin might even be able to play Sunday against the Browns in Cleveland.
Griffin injured his knee Sunday, late in the fourth quarter of a comeback victory over the Ravens that had to be finished by backup quarterback and fellow rookie Kirk Cousins. It's likely that Cousins would start Sunday if Griffin cannot, since the other quarterback on the roster, 2011 starter Rex Grossman, has been inactive for every game this season and Cousins is the only quarterback other than Griffin who's taken a snap for the Redskins this year. The team says it has faith in Cousins, and while the Browns have a better-than-you-think defense and have won three games in a row, it's not crazy to think the Redskins could find a way to beat Cleveland with Cousins playing quarterback.
But Griffin is the guy -- the dynamic, all-around playmaker who's led the team to a 7-6 record and a chance at a playoff spot in his rookie season and is himself in the running for rookie of the year and possibly even MVP. Griffin is the player for whom the Redskins traded three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick back in April. Griffin is the young man who has captivated the long-starved Redskins fan base and given them reason to hope for great things not just this year but far into the future. A torn anterior cruciate ligament was the fans' worst fear in the wake of the injury Sunday, as it likely would have ended Griffin's season and maybe even cost him part of next year. That scare has been avoided, and today Redskins fans can take a big breath and feel good that the news was pretty much as good as possible.