Trainers, doctors insist that he wears it

ASHBURN -- His runs haven't looked the same since he returned from his sprained knee. That's not surprising to the Redskins, but Robert Griffin III said don't just blame his knee. While it still bothers him, it's the brace that remains an issue as well.

However, the good news for Griffin is that the more he plays, the less his knee bothers him. Griffin said the Redskins' trainers and team doctors won't let him play without the brace. And Griffin said the restrictions on his knee now are mostly just because of the brace.

Griffin, who has played two games since sitting out one because of the sprained lateral collateral ligament, said the brace causes a natural limp. It's harder to bend his knee because the brace restricts the flexion as well as the extension of the knee.

"It's to protect the ligaments," Griffin said. "So there will be a limp, but at the same time you can still generate power."

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said, "He probably doesn't have to wear it, but the doctors thought it would be best to wear it to protect it so we don't further injure his LCL. He can still run, and he can still run well."

Griffin hurt Dallas with six runs for 63 yards, but even coach Mike Shanahan said he's still not running with the same speed. Shanahan said Monday that Griffin might not return to his natural speed -- he has been timed in the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds -- for a little while.

But Griffin said he thinks the injury has helped his game.

"It did show me things I can do to make the game easier for myself and easier on my body," he said. "Ironically, I've done a better job protecting myself since the injury, sliding to get down and getting all the yards I can.

"I feel good. I've felt better every day, every week. The good thing is there has been no setback, so I get to go out there and see what I can do. Each week I've been able to do more. Today I felt a lot better than I did last week. That's all you can ask for at this point."

Note » Redskins guard Kory Lichtensteiger (sprained left ankle), quarterback Kirk Cousins (flu), linebacker London Fletcher (ankle) and cornerback Dominique Johnson (knee) did not practice. Fletcher did not practice much during the seven-game winning streak because of various leg injuries.

Lichtensteiger hurt his ankle in Sunday's 28-18 win over Dallas. He said Wednesday he might not know whether he can play until Sunday.