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Calm Robert Kelley Bracing For New Experience In Giants-Redskins Finale

Robert Kelley emerged as the Redskins' starting running back eight games ago. He'll experience something new Sunday if he's forced to wear a knee brace.

ASHBURN -- Though starting running back Robert Kelley remained limited in Thursday's practice, all signs point to the rookie playing his normal role in Sunday's showdown against the New York Giants. That said, there could be something new for the rookie in his ninth career start.

Kelley practiced with a brace on the right knee he sprained in Saturday's victory at the Chicago Bears which set up the win-and-in scenario barring a Sunday night tie between Green Bay and Detroit. Coach Jay Gruden announced Wednesday that the Washington's leading rusher had an MRI earlier in the week.

"Everything feels good," Kelley told Breaking Burgundy during an interview Thursday for the Locked on Redskins podcast. "I actually could have went a little more, but we just want to rest a little today. For the most part everything was good."

As for the brace, "It's what we're doing right now. We'll see when the game comes around," Kelley said. "I feel comfortable with the brace, but if I don't need it, I wouldn't wear it."

That statement is due in part to the unfamiliarity with a brace.

"My first time wearing one, period," Kelley said. 

Comfortable in practice is one thing, but it's possible game day could be something else. The undrafted rookie has certainly looked comfortable as the lead back over the last eight weeks. 

According to the Redskins website, over the last eight weeks, Kelley is ninth in the NFL in rushing yards (568) and tied for eighth in rushing touchdowns (six). 

Balance was key in the 41-21 win over the Bears have pass-heavy attacks in previous weeks. The Redskins have had more rush attempts (116) than pass attempts (113) in their four wins since Kelley emerged as the starter ahead of Matt Jones.

Now comes "probably the biggest game" he's ever played in during his football career. "Hopefully there is more to come."

Throughout his rise from training camp hopeful to starter, Kelley's calm helped keep him running in the right direction.

"I don't try making the game bigger than what it is," the poised rookie said. "I feel like people have a lot more problems. Football is something we enjoy doing so there is no reason to get bent out of shape. ...It's a game. It's not life-threatening so I just go out there and play."

We'll find out Sunday if he's playing with a brace for the first time. Kelley also talked Giants-Redskins, Kirk Cousins' leadership and his social media game in the Locked on Redskins podcast (starts 11:40 mark). 

* Tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder) "did a lot more today," Gruden said. "[We’ve] just got to keep monitoring him, make sure he’s OK and getting the right treatment, getting stronger and more confident. That’s the big thing is making sure he has the confidence where he can extend his arm and do all the things necessary to separate from defenders. But I think he’s on the right track.”

* Linebacker Su'a Cravens (upper arm) likely misses his third straight game

https://twitter.com/breakburgundy/status/814624964896845830

* Gruden was asked about what he hopes Jones takes away from his second season, which will likely end with eight consecutive healthy scratches.

“I think he just has to bounce back and learn from the season and continue to get better," Gruden said. "He’s still a young football player, number one. And number two, he’s got to understand the importance of the ball, without a doubt. And he’s just got to keep working. He’s a young player. He’s got a lot of carries left in that body. And he’s just got to keep working and good things will happen to him.”

Ben Standig is the Publisher of Breaking Burgundy and the Huddle Report's 2012 NFL Mock Draft champion. You can find him on Twitter @benstandig and on Google+.

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