AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Now the Washington Redskins have two quarterbacks hoping to get cleared in time to play in the regular season opener.
The Redskins survived a scare Tuesday when an MRI revealed no major ligament damage in Kirk Cousins' sprained right foot, said a person familiar with the situation. The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce the results, said Cousins should be back in time for the Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 9.
That's also the projected return date for Robert Griffin III, who has made a remarkable comeback from major knee surgery. Griffin said he received a favorable report when he was examined by Dr. James Andrews before Monday night's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Griffin will meet again with Andrews within the next three weeks, hoping to get the final thumbs-up to return to the field.
Cousins was hurt when he was tackled from behind by linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the end of a 7-yard scramble in the second quarter of Monday night's 24-13 win. Cousins grabbed his ankle, got up and limped toward the huddle, then plopped down on the turf as if taking a seat to have a rest, unable to continue.
X-rays taken after the game were negative, but the Redskins were wary because of a similar injury suffered by rookie safety Phillip Thomas in the first preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. Thomas was initially thought to have a basic sprain, but an MRI revealed a torn ligament that will keep him out for the entire season.
For the time being, the Redskins are left with two healthy quarterbacks: veteran Rex Grossman and comeback-hopeful Pat White. Grossman was expected to be the savvy been-through-it-all tutor for Griffin and Cousins for a second straight year, but he had a reminder Monday night for all those who only see him only as a bench-warmer: "I feel like I can still play."
"I want to step up to the plate and execute and play well," said Grossman, who went 10 for 16 for 133 yards with one touchdown and an interception caused by a poor route run by a rookie tight end. "I've played a lot. This is my 11th year. I've been to a Super Bowl. Been to some big games. But every single time you're out there, it kind of feels like the biggest game. I wanted to make sure I was able to capitalize on this opportunity."
Unless the Redskins sign another quarterback, Grossman and White will likely handle the load for the final two preseason games. And, should neither Griffin nor Cousins be ready for Week 1, it's not too shabby to have a third-stringer who knows his way around.
"Rex did his thing out there," tight end Fred Davis said. "To have somebody like that -- with his experience, trust and believing in himself to go out there and make the throws that he did -- definitely helps us out a lot."
As for Griffin, there were smiles all around Monday night after a week of public tension between him and coach Mike Shanahan. Griffin joked with the coach on the sideline before the game, gave a high-five to Andrews and hugged owner Dan Snyder.
Griffin last week said he disagreed with the limitations placed on him in practice, and he also lobbied to play in at least one preseason game.
Shanahan kept Griffin out of 11-on-11 drills until the final days of training camp, and then only allowed the quarterback to run 11-on-11s against a scout defense. The coach said Andrews, who performed Griffin's surgery in January, has not cleared Griffin to play in a game and will give a "Yea" or "Nay" on the matter before Week 1.
"He's been doing great and there's no reason to have a setback, but you never know," Shanahan said. "We're going to have two more weeks of practice. We're going to put him through situations like we've been doing for the last 3½ weeks and keep our fingers crossed that there isn't a setback. And if there isn't, he should be ready for Philly."
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