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Report: Haynesworth's knee isn't damaged, according to MRI

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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An MRI on Albert Haynesworth's sore left knee showed no structural damage, sources familiar with the situation told The Washington Post, and the Redskins hope the All-Pro defensive tackle can finally pass his conditioning test soon.

The Haynesworth soap opera entered its second week Thursday when the knee kept him from taking the conditioning test for the third consecutive 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 before news of the MRI result leaked. "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 Redskins' 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.

Shanahan, who took over the Redskins this offseason, said Haynesworth 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," the coach 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."

Haynesworth, who's entering the second year of a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins, is the only Washington player who must take the conditioning test, a result of his decision not to participate 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.

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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, watching drills with a play sheet in his hand. He also attended team meetings and has hit the blocking sled after practice.

"I'm just going to treat Albert the way I'm going to treat any other player," Shanahan said, "see what he can do on the practice field and get him in the best shape possible."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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