Some players are injury prone. Some players aren’t necessarily injury prone, but they’re contact prone. And the challenge for any skill-position player is to find legitimate ways to avoid or at least minimize contact.
Whether it’s running out of bounds or sliding at the right moment or, as Barry Sanders used to do, knowing instinctively when to go down to the turf, the best way to stay healthy is to limit the number of hits that the body absorbs.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III explained on Wednesday that injuring his knee via a hit from Haloti Ngata that looked in real time as if it would destroy it has helped Griffin learn how to play safely.
“The injury has shown me a lot – just from a quarterback perspective,” Griffin told reporters. “This game is not easy, but [the injury] did show me some things I can do to make the game easier for myself, easier on my body. Ironically, I’ve done a better job of protecting myself since the injury – sliding, getting down, getting all the possible yards I can and getting out of bounds. Sometimes, things have to happen like that for you to really, really grasp that. It’s shown me a lot. I don’t think I’ve ever rushed for 10 yards a carry in a game and I did that in this past game.”
To work over the long haul, the effort to avoid contact must become second nature. For Griffin, the sooner that happens the better equipped he’ll be to remain healthy more often than not.
And for now he has a constant reminder to be careful, thanks to the bulky brace that is protecting his right knee. “Not a lot of people talk about the limp with the brace, but any time you wear a brace like that, it’s to protect you,” Griffin said. “So, it’s going to cause a natural limp. You’re not going to be able to bend your knee normally. It restricts your flexion and your extension. It’s just to protect the ligaments in there, so there’ll be a natural limp in there. At the same time, you can still generate power.”
He’ll generate more if he can shed the brace, something he joked about doing this weekend against the Seahawks.