Whenever a guy who has received a $100 million contract (actually, four years and $48 million) is also receiving injections into a knee that, in the early days of camp, should be as good and rested as it’s ever going to be, it’s a legitimate cause for concern.
Redskins coach Jim Zorn, however, says he isn’t worried about the potential impact of a balky knee on the ability of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth to continue to dominate offensive linemen in his first year after getting the payday that fueled his strong performances in 2007 and 2008.
“He has had this before,” Zorn told reporters Monday regarding the injection Haynesworth received into his knee on Sunday. “This is something that we did from the start when we got here, right when we started training camp. It could’ve been done before but he hasn’t been around and it is something that is very normal.”
Wait, so the fact that Sunday wasn’t the first time in the recent past that Haynesworth had something shot into his knee so that it properly could function counts as good news?
“One of the reason you get these injections, I’ve had them myself, in a training camp this is a great little product because it is like a brace, it is like a cushion,” Zorn said. “It gets you through two-a-days basically; it doesn’t stay in there forever. It helps cushion your knee if you have any abrasions or any kind of grinding going on, it cushions that, it gets you through. During the season, the battle is on Sunday but we’re not hitting during the week like we are now we’re hitting every day. It takes its toll.”
Here’s my concern, for the benefit of those whose daily agenda now includes trying to exaggerate anything I write about the team into some sort of anti-Redskins bias. I’ve been following the NFL pretty damn closely, every single day, for more than nine years now. Having something shot into a knee to provide artificial cushion so that a guy can get through practice in the first week of training camp doesn’t sound like the kind of thing that should be inducing a head coach to shrug his shoulders.
As Zorn points out, Haynesworth weighs 340 pounds. And Haynesworth carries that weight around every single day. If the knee is bothering him in the first days of camp, it’s going to bother him all year long.
So the real question becomes whether it gets to the point that it keeps him from playing, and eventually whether it limits the number of years that he can add to the seven seasons he already has spent in the NFL.
Though some would suggest that we’re required to take whatever an NFL coach or a player says at face value (perhaps since they have such a strong track record of always telling the truth), think of it this way: With Redskins fans basking in the promise of a 0-0 record and with plenty of reasons to feel genuinely positive about the team’s chances (and, for the Redskins this year, there truly are), would Zorn admit in early August to being genuinely concerned about Haynesworth’s knee even if Zorn had such concerns?
Hell no, he wouldn’t.
So unless and until needles aren’t routinely invading the knee of D.C.’s
$100 million $48 million man, those inclined to set aside the rose-colored and/our half-full glasses and view the situation objectively should at least be mildly concerned that a bunch of money might have been invested in a very large man with a chronically bad wheel.