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Robert Griffin III: RG3 knee injury a warning sign for his future? (+video)

Robert Griffin III limped out of the Washington Redskins' 24-14 loss Sunday. The RG3 knee injury raises questions about his durability – and whether he should have been playing.

By Staff writer / January 6, 2013

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III sits on the bench after a knee injury during an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Landover, Md., Sunday. The Seahawks defeated the Redskins 24-14.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Just in case any of us were in doubt, Sunday provided irrefutable evidence that Robert Griffin III's right knee is a national treasure. President Obama should assign a Special Forces team to protect it. Congress should check the fine print to make sure it is not in the sequester. The Smithsonian should reserve a wing.

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Because without it, the most exciting player in pro football looked terrifyingly pedestrian.

For the best part of this National Football League season, the sporting world has stood slack-jawed at what the future held in store. However brilliant the present – however awesome Griffin's talents, however inconceivable his speed – it was merely the downpayment for a generation of greatness to come.

For years, Griffin would do battle with fellow rookies Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Over the course of a career, he would redefine the quarterback position with his loping grace, his pinpoint passing precision, his Indy-car acceleration. We salivated at the prospect that, delectably, the best was ahead.

That future still remains. But in the wake of the Washington Redskins' 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, it cannot help but feel a bit more fragile.

Two plays after Griffin appeared to reinjure an already tender knee in the first quarter, he threw a four-yard touchdown pass. To that point, the Redskins had 14 points and 135 yards of offense. Over the remaining 51:36 of the game, they would add only 69 yards and never again cross midfield.

After the game, Griffin said the knee did not affect his ability to throw. If that is true, it is an indictment in itself, suggesting that, without his mobility to fall back on, Griffin needs to make significant progress as a passer. More likely, he was taking one for the team – playing when he should not have been on the field.

But that raises its own questions. Griffin tweaked his knee in the first quarter and then injured it further in the fourth – to the point where he finally did come out – without being touched by a defender either time. And this was three weeks after suffering what doctors called one of the milder knee strains possible. 

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