The Washington Redskins could find themselves in a real pickle this weekend. At 7-6, the team is thick in the playoff race in the NFC but likely has to win its remaining three games to have a chance.
That means Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns is vital. But with Robert Griffin III fresh off of spraining his knee, do the Redskins take the risk of playing him even if he isn't 100 percent healthy?
Griffin has been so good for the Redskins this season that many folks consider him an MVP candidate, even if it's a longshot he'll actually win the award. But he's also the future of this franchise, and has already sustained two injuries that have forced him to leave games this year.
Is it really worth risking future injury for one game if Griffin isn't fully confident in his knee? How much does making the playoffs this year matter? To the point that risking Griffin's long-term health is a risk worth taking?
The Redskins need to be cautious with Griffin. They already have a player who is more vulnerable to injury given his dangerous abilities as a runner. If he isn't 100 percent—and I don't think he will be—the Redskins need to seriously consider going with Kirk Cousins.
I understand that a shot at the playoffs is hard to pass up, especially when the Redskins are in a very good position in the NFC East with a 3-1 record in the division, leaving them in the driver's seat in any tiebreaker scenarios.
But even Griffin understands that there is more in play here than winning one game. From Jim Corbett of USA Today:
"Today I felt really good about it—we're 7-6 here, trying to make the playoffs, trying to go further than that, and I need to be able to be out there for my team,'' Griffin said. "If I feel like I can give us the best chance to win, then I'll play. If I can make sure I can ensure my safety out there, my health and my career, then, I'll go out there and play. If not, then I won't.
"I want to be out there for those guys like I told them I would be. One gauge is, 'Will I be able to make instinctive moves without thinking about it? Can you make that explosive step?' I was able to do that today.''
I have a feeling Griffin is going to play. His injury doesn't sound too severe, and he's a competitor, so even if he's at 85 percent he'll say he feels as though he's at 95 percent. And if the risk only seems minor, the Redskins are going to take it—a shot at the playoffs is tough to pass up.
It's a risky game Griffin and the Redskins are playing, however. These bangs, bruises and sprains are going to add up for RG3. He isn't Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger, big enough to shrug off big hits and sustain damage.
This won't be the first time the Redskins will be in a conundrum with a Griffin injury. Truthfully, if they aren't cautious with RG3 when he gets banged up, those conundrums are going to become far more common than the team will want.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are down with RG3.