Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III surely looked forward to Wednesday’s practice with great anticipation. The last time he practiced and was expected to play in the next game was nearly six weeks ago.
Now, he has progressed to the possibility of playing. Not that he needs extra motivation – or has room for any – but the next game just happens to be Dallas on Monday Night Football.
The national stage, the famed rivalry, the return to Texas where he starred at Baylor University … it paints an incredibly tempting scenario in RG3’s mind, envisioning the perfect setting to return from the dislocated left ankle he suffered in Week 2.
History shows that he recovers from injury faster than expected.
It also shows that he hurries back faster than what’s good for him.
Here’s hoping Griffin heard Kevin Durant on Tuesday when the Oklahoma Thunder star addressed the media for the first time since being diagnosed with a “Jones fracture” in his right foot and undergoing surgery last week.
Durant loves hooping as much as anyone. He rarely forgoes opportunities to play in summer leagues, charity events and the like, which made his withdrawal from the U.S. national team so stunning last summer (notwithstanding Paul George’s gruesome broken leg).
Players with Durant’s injury, which usually occurs 3/4 of an inch from the base of the pinkie toe, typically recover in six to eight weeks. The notion that a gym rat like Durant would try to beat that timetable was squashed in his news conference.
“I’m not going to rush it at all,” Durant said. “That’s one thing I’m not going to do. I’m sure I’ll feel better in two or three weeks. But I definitely don’t want to rush it and wind up hurting it even more.”
That’s from a guy who previously experienced nothing more serious than a sprained ankle.
RG3 has suffered three major injuries in the last six years.
He needs to take a page from Durant’s book and tape it to the bathroom mirror.
“I’m taking my time with this,” Durant said. “I’m blessed that it happened early in the season so I can get past it and hopefully by December I’ll be ready to play.”
Griffin’s target date should be Nov. 2, at the earliest, when Washington visits Minnesota. But the team should strongly consider incorporating the bye week into his rehab, pushing the return to Nov. 16 when Tampa Bay visits FedEx Field.
In any case, Griffin should not step on the field at Jerry World.
Coach Jay Gruden previously said he needed to see two good weeks of practice from RG3 before re-inserting the quarterback. On Wednesday, Gruden said he needed to see “a couple of good days of practice.”
That’s the last thing Griffin needs to hear. After fighting off Cousins without taking a snap, he can’t wait to resume his role as F.O.T.F., especially face time in primetime on Monday night.
Unless it leads to a rush job, though,, his anxiousness isn’t a problem. It’s simply a normal byproduct that must be overcome by blue-chip athletes such as himself and the NBA MVP.
“I’ve been antsy since I came out of surgery,” Durant said. “I saw Cleveland and Chicago last night and I wanted to get out there and play. As a competitor, I love to play basketball. That’s all I’ve been doing. Injuries have never had me out this long, but it’s part of the game and I understand that.”
RG3 gets the injury part all too well.
It’s comprehending lessons on patience and prudence that give him trouble.
Gruden appears to struggle in those subjects, too, because he hasn’t ruled out starting RG3 against the Cowboys. Let’s hope that’s just a ruse.
“I’m in no rush today to make any crazy decision,” Gruden said. “… I know he’s going to say he’s ready to go. He was ready to go four weeks ago probably in his mind.”
Gruden said he has to be convinced that RG3’s ankle is sturdy, pain-free and able to endure full-speed cuts. Then the team’s medical staff has to clear him, Finally, Gruden has to believe that RG3 is being completely honest if he says he’s ready.
Good luck with that last one.
“If we have to wait another week, or after the bye week, then so be it,” Gruden said. “But that will not be my call initially.”
It will be his call ultimately, especially this week if everything else falls in place. But he should’ve stopped this madness before it got rolling and put ideas in Griffin’s head.
If RG3 won’t follow Durant’s lead and ease off the gas, Gruden should pump the brakes for him.