Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan indicates Albert Haynesworth may join practice soon

The Redskins practice on Day 5 of training camp at Redskins Park.
By Rick Maese
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

By time the 11th question on the topic had been asked, Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan had reached his limit.

"Enough about Albert," he said, as similar-sounding queries about defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth began producing similar-sounding answers.

But in perhaps the biggest sign that a thaw might be near in the strained relationship between Haynesworth and the team, Shanahan conceded that Haynesworth could return to the practice field without first passing his mandatory conditioning test if the current situation drags on.

"Possibly," Shanahan said. "You'll just have to stick around."

Haynesworth made his third attempt at the test before the team's training camp practice Monday morning. But because of lingering irritation in his knee, he completed just 75 of the 300 yards of the first sprint. Because he failed to complete the test -- much less pass it -- he missed his seventh and eighth practices of training camp Monday, though he was present for all of both sessions.

Haynesworth skipped the test on Saturday and Sunday because of swelling in his knee. The joint has became a concern, and Shanahan said that even if Haynesworth had passed the test a week ago, the knee problem would have prevented him from practicing the past few days.

"It's like somebody spraining an ankle," Shanahan said. "You sprain an ankle and you can't run, you can't run and you can't practice. Just like if you're knee's bothering you and you can't go out there and run, you can't practice."

As the drama surrounding Haynesworth's conditioning test stretches into a sixth day, there are people within the organization and close to Haynesworth who privately expressed doubt that Haynesworth will be able to pass the test anytime soon -- with or without a healthy knee.

Shanahan, however, said he's confident that Haynesworth eventually will post the required times in the two sprints. "He's a fast guy," Shanahan said. "He did very good the first time. He did it easily."

Haynesworth's best performance on the sprint was still his initial run last Thursday -- the lone time he completed a repetition in the allotted time.

Because he missed all but one day of the team's offseason conditioning program, Haynesworth is required to complete two 300-yard shuttle sprints -- the first in 70 seconds or less and the second in 73 seconds or less. He's allowed a 3 1/2 -minute break between runs. The sprints are broken into 25-yard out-and-back increments; Haynesworth must run 25 yards, touch his foot on a line and sprint 25 yards back until he has reached the 300-yard mark.

Last Thursday, Haynesworth passed the first run but needed a restroom break before the second. He had to restart the test and was too tired to post a passing time.

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