By Steve Ginsburg
LANDOVER, Maryland (Reuters) - Robert Griffin III knew the second he got whacked by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata he was in trouble.
"As soon as I got hit I screamed," he said. "It hurt really bad."
The 81,178 at FedEx Field watched in silence as Griffin, the team's meal ticket both for this year and for the foreseeable future, held his knee.
"It didn't feel like an ACL (torn anterior cruciate ligament) or anything like that so I told them, 'Just get me to the sideline and I'm coming back the next play.'"
With the clock winding down and the Redskins trailing 28-20, Griffin sat out one play before re-entering the line-up. He returned r four plays but was unable to continue.
Once again, he walked gingerly to the sideline.
Fortunately for the Redskins, his back-up, Kirk Cousins, fired an 11-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garcon with 29 seconds left in regulation and then ran for the two-point conversion to force overtime.
Washington won 31-28 on a 34-yard field goal by Kai Forbath four minutes into the extra session. Despite the victory, Washington's fourth straight, few believe the Redskins will be playoff bound without Griffin.
His status for next week's game at Cleveland remained unclear but the Redskins said after Sunday's game an MRI revealed a right knee sprain and his X-ray was clear. Coach Mike Shanahan will discuss the injury further on Monday, the team said.
"They (doctors) looked at my knee a lot," Griffin said. "They told me that they felt like my ligaments feel good. .... They told me my ACL looked good.
"I was feeling the positive vibes from them, feeling the positive vibes from the team and just the fact that we won the game makes everyone feel a lot better."
Shanahan said he could see Griffin was hurting the second time he came out.
"You could see his face," said Shanahan. "I talked to the doctor and he felt like it was in his best interest not to come back in. We had to keep him from going back in.
"He was trying to get out there, so that's a great sign."
Griffin said he was trying to make a play when he got hurt with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter.
"I got outside and turned inside and once I turned inside I said, 'Oh lord, here we go' and got down. I protected myself in that regard. It was just a freak play.
"My leg got hit while I was going down and after I was already down, my leg got hit (again). It was a pretty painful experience but I will be all right."
(Editing by Gene Cherry)