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Mild sprain has Redskins' RG3 uncertain for Sunday

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Mild sprain has Redskins' RG3 uncertain for Sunday

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) All the medical terms associated with Robert Griffin III's knee injury can be boiled down to one simple message: It's not too bad.

Beyond that, there are still some very important unknowns.

The NFL's top-rated quarterback might or might not play Sunday when the Washington Redskins visit the Cleveland Browns. Coach Mike Shanahan, knowing full well that it makes the other team work extra to prepare for two quarterbacks, will no doubt wait as long as possible to publicly commit one way or the other to Griffin or fellow rookie Kirk Cousins.

``Both of them will have a game plan,'' Shanahan said Monday.

The interior of Griffin's right knee was the subject of intense scrutiny during Shanahan's weekly news conference, when it was shown that an injury to a franchise player like RG3 can flummox even a seasoned coach. Shanahan initially said Griffin had a ``strain of the ACL'' before later correcting the diagnosis to a sprained LCL, with the coach stepping away from the podium to demonstrate the location of the ligament involved.

The upshot: Griffin has a mild, or Grade 1, sprain of the lateral collateral ligament located on the outside of the knee, caused when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble late in regulation of the 31-28 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens.

``When I looked at it on film,'' Shanahan said, ``I thought it would be worse than it was.''

The LCL is one of four ligaments in the knee. A Grade 1 sprain typically means the ligament is stretched or has some minor tears and usually doesn't require surgery. Griffin will get multiple treatments daily and will probably have to wear a brace for several weeks.

The next major benchmark is whether Griffin will able to take part when practice resumes on Wednesday.

``You're hoping with rehab it gets better very quickly,'' Shanahan said. ``But we don't know for sure. ... He's definitely not ruled out for the Cleveland game.''

Griffin's father, Robert Griffin Jr., said in a text message that his son was ``feeling good'' and that ``we will know by Thursday'' whether Griffin III will be able to suit up against the Browns.

The most severe knee injury usually associated with sports is a season-ending torn ACL, the anterior cruciate ligament. Griffin tore the ACL in his right knee while playing for Baylor in 2009, but Shanahan said Griffin's reconstructed ACL ``looks great'' and that there's ``no problem there.''

``He's doing good. He's in high spirits,'' left tackle Trent Williams said after speaking with Griffin on Monday. ``It was a pretty nasty, awkward hit, and for him not to be seriously injured is a blessing.''

No. 2 overall pick Griffin has become a phenomenon in his debut NFL season, leading the Redskins - a team that went 5-11 last year - to four straight victories to put the record at 7-6, one game behind the first-place New York Giants in the NFC East. His performance Sunday put him atop the league with a 104.2 passer rating, better than Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and everyone else.

Fourth-rounder Cousins might not be much of a drop-off, especially after his super-sub performance against the Ravens. When Griffin left for one play, Cousins converted a third-and-6 with a pass to Pierre Garcon that drew a pass interference penalty on Chris Johnson.

When Griffin left for good later in the drive, Cousins completed two passes in two plays, and his nice pump fake allowed Garcon to get open for an 11-yard touchdown with 29 seconds left in regulation.

Cousins then did his best RG3 impersonation, running the quarterback draw on the 2-point conversion to tie the game.

``You're running the scout team the majority of the time, and you're expected to go in there and perform,'' Shanahan said. ``So there's a lot of pressure on people. Some people can handle it; other people can't. But when you prepare yourself like he has, it didn't surprise me that he was flawless in what he did.''

Shanahan defended the decision to have Griffin return to the game for four plays after the injury, saying he left the decision in the hands of Dr. James Andrews, the renowned sports physician who is on the sidelines for most Redskins games.

``He's the one that gives me that information,'' Shanahan said. ``It's way over my head.''

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

BALTIMORE -- Coming off a long weekend following their first loss of the season, the Baltimore Ravens have implemented a contingency plan for moving forward without three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Mosley bruised his left knee Thursday night in a 34-23 defeat at Cincinnati. Although the fifth-year standout receives a few extra days to recover, it's unlikely he will ready for Sunday's game against unbeaten Denver.

"It isn't a structural issue. That's good news," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll just see how that thing comes along and keep our fingers crossed."

Rookie linebacker Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor played the position after Mosley left in the first quarter. Though the Ravens tightened up defensively in the second half, they yielded touchdowns on four straight series after Mosley's departure.

"It definitely seemed like things were a little bit scrambled when you lose a guy like that," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "Just him being out there makes everything smoother."

To help fill the void, the Ravens on Monday signed Albert McClellan , who played six years for Baltimore before being cut on Sept. 1.

McClellan missed all of last year with a knee injury but has 90 games of NFL experience, all with the Ravens.

"Albert is a very good football player. He knows everything we do," Harbaugh said. "He gives us a lot on special teams and can play middle linebacker. I would say he kind of solidifies in there a little bit, having so many young players in the group."

To make room for McClellan, the Ravens placed cornerback Maurice Canady on injured reserve with a thigh injury. Harbaugh said it's not a season-ending injury, and it's possible that Canady could return later in the season.

Mosley led the Ravens last year with a career-high 132 tackles and is in charge of calling the plays on defense. That role has been handed to safety Eric Weddle.

Young appears in position to make his first NFL start. Selected out of UCLA in the fourth round of the NFL draft, the 23-year-old Young made a favorable impression before his making seven tackles last week in Cincinnati.

"He's going a great job. We're real happy with him," Harbaugh said. "He's very smart, very studious, very conscientious. I think his learning curb is steep."

After beating Buffalo 47-3 in the opener, the Ravens (1-1) took a huge step back last week. The Bengals led 28-7 in the second quarter and cruised to the finish.

Following a short week, the Ravens enjoyed a rare weekend that did not involve playing football.

"Yeah, that's valuable to have that, as far as recovery and things like that, and study," Harbaugh said.

It also provided the team some extra time to get over the Cincinnati game.

"You just can't beat yourself up too much because if you do, that just takes you in a downward path," Harbaugh said. "What it's going to boil down to in the end is, who's mentally tougher over the long haul? You've got to keep grinding."

There are plenty of unbeaten teams remaining, including the Broncos, but Harbaugh believes it's way too early to start identifying the best clubs in the league.

"Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet," he said. "It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that's what we've got to try to become."

Harbaugh said tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) won't practice this week.

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Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

Coming off a strong Week 1 performance, the Ravens marched into Cincinnati for Week 2 and put up a dud.

The defense struggled immediately without C.J. Mosley, and Joe Flacco and the offense saw their share of unfortunate turnovers. 

While there was much to be concerned about in their 34-23 loss, one Raven that brought a high to a mainly low night was offseason addition John Brown.

Brown's night was highlighted by an insane 21-yard touchdown that put the Ravens within five in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Flacco connected with the wide receiver for a 45-yard completion on third down. 'Smoke' also drew a 30-yard penalty that helped set up a touchdown, finishing his night with four catches for 92 yards.

The connection between Flacco and Brown was apparent throughout training camp, and in two games, the 28-year-old has become a trusted target. He currently leads the Ravens with 136 yards and two touchdowns and his 19.43-yard average is well above his fellow receivers. The speed he possess makes it difficult for defenses to keep up, and if Brown can stay healthy, he could be the consistent deep-threat the team's been looking for for years. 

 “I’m satisfied, and I did pretty good," Brown said after the Ravens' Week 1 win. "But it doesn’t stop right here.”

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