Albert Haynesworth's health still issue

Updated: August 22, 2010, 9:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

One day after Albert Haynesworth accused Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan of underplaying the two-time All-Pro's medical condition in recent days, The Washington Post reported that Haynesworth has rhabdomyolysis.

The condition, which sidelined Haynesworth in practice last week, causes the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle due to injury to muscle tissue, the paper reported Sunday, citing three sources.

A Redskins official told ESPN that the team is unaware that Haynesworth has this condition.

"You see the condition with people who aren't used to working out in the heat," Dr. Tyler Cooper of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas told ESPN.com's Matt Mosley. "It can be very dangerous and it's usually caused by an isolated event."

Experts told The Washington Post that Haynesworth likely recovered from the condition since he was able to play in Saturday's 23-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

"If [Haynesworth] was properly hydrated and his blood enzymes were measured at a mild level, then it would be feasible to play in a game," said Cooper, who has not treated Haynesworth.

Haynesworth stopped practicing early Tuesday at training camp and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. Shanahan gave varying explanations for Haynesworth's idleness each day. The coach initially said Haynesworth "just was sick," then said the cause was dehydration, then finally said it was "more of a headache than anything else."

Haynesworth said Saturday night he had something more, but he didn't specify what.

"You'll have to ask them, but I guess they'll tell you 'headaches' again," said Haynesworth, emphasizing the word by holding his fingers in the air to simulate quotation marks. "It was part of it, but it wasn't all of it. They left out a whole lot of stuff."

"Rhabdomyolysis is basically a condition in which you have extensive muscle breakdown," Dr. Lynne P. Yao, chairman-elect of the National Kidney Foundation, told The Washington Post. "It doesn't happen as often in well-conditioned athletes, but if there's really extreme circumstances -- like extremely hot weather -- than that could happen. When you have large amounts of muscle breakdown."

The Redskins said Shanahan would comment on Haynesworth on Monday, when the team resumes practice, but Shanahan denied knowledge of Haynesworth's condition to AOL Fanhouse on Sunday.

Shanahan went on to reiterate a point he has made before: Haynesworth has to practice if he wants to play.

"Albert has gotten away in the past with playing without practicing," Shanahan said. "That will not happen under this regime. If he's going to play, he's going to practice, and that is the same with every player here. The days of him playing without practicing are over."

Haynesworth has been a thorn in Shanahan's side since the coach took the Redskins job in January. Haynesworth drew Shanahan's ire by staying away from the offseason program and later lobbied for a trade because he didn't want to play nose tackle in the team's new 3-4 defense. Shanahan gave Haynesworth a chance to leave -- provided Haynesworth didn't stay around to accept a $21 million contract bonus on April 1. Haynesworth took the bonus.

Haynesworth also skipped a mandatory minicamp and was fined. When he showed up for training camp, he was made to pass a conditioning test before he could practice. After several failed attempts and several days of idleness because of a sore knee, he finally passed the test on the 10th day of camp.

Then came last week's setback, when Haynesworth stood to the side over three days of practices with neither player nor coach giving a clear explanation of what was going on. During three weeks of camp, Haynesworth completed only five of 13 full practices.

Haynesworth also isn't happy that he's having to practice and play with the backups. His appearances in the two preseason games came after the starters had left. He said it's another way his offseason boycott is being held against him.

"I'm a ninth-year pro," Haynesworth said Saturday. "I don't think I should have been out there in the third quarter. But, for having 'headaches' again, that was what they wanted to do."

Shanahan said Haynesworth is "going to have to earn his way" to play with the starters.

There's no telling when that might happen, or whether the Redskins -- who are hoping to a make a fresh, positive start under a new coach -- can tolerate the Shanahan-Haynesworth feud much longer without it having a substantial impact on the team.

One thing is clear: Haynesworth isn't giving up. The offseason program will apparently be an issue again in 2011.

"Next year," he said, "I'm not coming either."

Assuming he's still with the team.

Notes

Starting FS Kareem Moore is expected to be out several weeks with a right sprained knee. He was injured during the Ravens' fake punt play that netted a 51-yard gain. ... FB Mike Sellers injured his left knee during the game, although his injury is not thought to be as serious. Nevertheless, the Redskins are expected to announce the signing of seventh-year FB Carey Davis on Monday. ... On a busy day -- considering there was no practice -- the Redskins also fired one of their main PR men, executive director of communications Zack Bolno.

Information from ESPN.com's Matt Mosley and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

ALSO SEE