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RGIII's sprain a different story for average person

Wednesday - 12/12/2012, 6:07am  ET

AP: 910b0308-b8f0-4017-a6c5-df55bfcc76f6
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III walks through the bench area with a brace on his knee during overtime in an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. The Redskins defeated the Raven 31-28. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Michelle Basch, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Fans are still waiting to find out if Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will play against the Browns in Cleveland Sunday, one week after suffering a mild knee sprain.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, an orthopedic surgeon at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, says the impact of such an injury would be different for an average person who just needs to drive to work, not drive down a football field.

"For walking around, going up and down stairs - even light exercise (like) biking, swimming, things like that - this probably would feel OK after a week or so," says ElAttrache, who operated on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's knee in 2009.

He says the average person with the injury should try to reduce the swelling, rest and avoid high-impact exercise.

"You might be able to go back to work the next day or in a few days. I don't think that that would be a problem," he says.

For an elite athlete like RGIII - whose typical day at work involves a huge amount of stress on his knees - the sprain has a more direct effect.

"The guys surrounding him will take a look and if it's safe without any significant increase in risk of re-injuring it or making it worse, then they'll let him play, but I don't think it's a catastrophe if you see them holding him out this week," ElAttrache says. "I wouldn't be surprised if they're conservative with him and let him really heal this thing."

People like RGIII who suffer this type of sprain occasionally have another problem, ElAttrache says.

"Sometimes when you get this kind of an injury, there are some things that show up over the next few days that might not have shown up initially," he says. "If he has any aching discomfort from bone bruising when the bones on the inside of the knee hit together, that can cause him some aching and swelling that they may want to protect him from."

"He could play this week (or) it could be three weeks."

The doctor says one thing is clear about the rookie quarterback: He won't want to be out of the game for very long.

"He's going to want to compete," ElAttrache says. "You could see that, him wanting to go back in the game immediately after this."

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