The Washington Redskins' surprising push toward the NFC East title and the postseason will get the physical and emotional lift it needs when superstar rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III returns on Sunday.
According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Griffin got the clearance from the doctors that head coach Mike Shanahan said he would need before playing again:
Quarterback Robert Griffin III has received final clearance from doctors and is scheduled to start for the Redskins on Sunday at Philadelphia, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday evening.
The knee injury Griffin suffered against Baltimore was one of those moments where you just stop in your tracks, because the hit and movement of his leg looked eerily similar to Willis McGahee's in the BCS Championship Game 10 years ago that basically shattered his knee.
Instead, the Redskins and Griffin got lucky, as the quarterback suffered a sprained knee and will apparently only miss one game.
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With the Redskins in a dead heat with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants for the division title and wild-card spots, Griffin's presence on the field for the final two games (against Philadelphia and Dallas) was essential.
There were no expectations for the Redskins entering this season, though there were sky-high hopes that Griffin would at least make this franchise entertaining to watch for the first time in years.
Even Shanahan said (via Rich Campbell of the Washington Times), after the team lost to Carolina on Nov. 4 and saw their record fall to 3-6, that they were looking to the future and all but throwing the towel in on this season.
Shanahan: Season now becomes an evaluation for next year. #Redskins— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) November 4, 2012
Given where the Redskins were at, it made sense for Shanahan to say what he did, even if his candidness wasn't exactly the inspiring speech you see in every lame sports movie ever made.
A funny thing happened along the way: Griffin, along with fellow rookie Alfred Morris, carried this team back from the brink with five straight wins. He has completed 69 percent of his passes with 909 yards, 10 touchdowns, one interception and 219 rushing yards in the four games he played following that loss to Carolina.
The Redskins have not lost since that day and turned their season around. Griffin has gone from being a great rookie quarterback to one of the best signal-callers in the NFL. Even with Kirk Cousins taking care of business last week against Cleveland, everything the team wants to do revolves around Griffin.
Having Griffin return, knowing they control their destiny in the division with two more wins, gives the Redskins the emotional boost they need to finish this incredible turnaround that started seven weeks ago.
It also helps that the Eagles are a disaster of epic proportion right now, though that should not undersell the job Griffin has done turning the Redskins into one of the most dangerous and feared teams in the NFC.