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Different test: Redskins’ Haynesworth has MRI
ASHBURN, VA. (AP) - Even as the Washington Redskins ordered an MRI on Albert Haynesworth’s sore left knee, coach Mike Shanahan gave yet another reason why he’s adamant about having the two-time All-Pro defensive tackle pass the team’s conditioning test.
Haynesworth, says the coach, missed way too many practices last season.
“I’ve got all the stats in there, how many games he played where he didn’t practice throughout the whole week,” Shanahan said. “If you don’t practice, you’re not going to play well. … My job is to make sure he can play the best once we start our season, and that’s to get him in football shape. We’ll make sure when he is ready to go, he can go full speed.”
The Haynesworth soap opera entered its second week Thursday when the knee kept him from taking the conditioning test for the third straight day. That prompted a different sort of test _ an MRI _ that Shanahan called a “preventative measure.”
“His knee’s been a little bit sore, more sore than it has been in the past,” Shanahan said. “In the past, every third or fourth day it would be a little sore, according the trainers, but now it’s been a couple of days consistently sore.”
The knee has bothered Haynesworth throughout previous seasons. Last year, he missed two days of training camp to have fluid injected into the knee, a procedure he said had become routine for him to fight the wear and tear of practice.
Once the season began, the days off for Haynesworth piled up quickly. He was listed on the injury report for 10 of the team’s 16 games with hip, ankle and knee ailments. He missed four games, continuing a pattern from his years with the Tennessee Titans, where he never played all 16 games in a season after becoming a regular starter in 2003.
Haynesworth, entering the second year of a seven-year, $100 million contract, is the only Redskins player who has to take the conditioning test, a result of his decision not to take part in the team’s offseason workout program. Shanahan’s unyielding position has asserted the coach’s control over the team, but his comments Thursday also echoed long-standing concerns about Haynesworth’s fitness.
The test consists of two timed 300-yard runs with many 180-degree changes of direction, hardly the best thing to attempt on a bad knee. Asked if the state of Haynesworth’s knee might be a reason to excuse the player from passing the test in order to practice, Shanahan didn’t sound ready to bend.
“Well, you can’t practice if your knee’s not strong enough,” Shanahan said. “If you can’t do drills and push off it, you can’t run. If you can’t run, you can’t play.”
Haynesworth continued to learn the Redskins defense as a spectator Thursday, watching the drills with a play sheet in his hand. He also attended team meetings and has been hitting the blocking sled after practice.
Notes: WR Mike Furrey has been diagnosed with a concussion. The eight-year veteran hasn’t practiced since Tuesday morning and the team isn’t certain when he’ll return. “He’s had one before,” Shanahan said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.” … RT Jammal Brown (hip muscle strain) returned to practice after missing a day but was limited. … Shanahan said he hopes WR Malcolm Kelly (hamstring) will be able to practice Monday.
By John R. Bolton
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