FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There have been a lot of questions from followers on Twitter about defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth and missing practice. Haynesworth hasn't been on the field for the last three sessions, and given his reputation, the absence has garnered headlines. That's fair.
This somewhat reminds me of 2007 training camp with Randy Moss.
Moss lit things up early in camp before slightly tweaking his hamstring. The Patriots played in safe, shutting him down until the regular season. There were questions throughout the preseason if Moss would be ready, then in the season opener against the Jets, they were answered with authority when he raced through triple coverage on a long-bomb 51-yard strike.
Haynesworth, like Moss, had a strong start to camp in 2011.
On his first play, he exploded past a blocker in a half-line running drill, blowing up the play in a glimpse of the type of disruption he could create when motivated. There were a few other plays like that before his workload was reduced.
Why was the workload reduced?
I think Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet was on to something when he reported on Haynesworth's "history of summer knee maintenance" over the weekend, and how that maintenance has probably extended into training camp because of the lockout.
As reported by the Washington Post in 2009, Haynesworth has received an offseason injection of Synvisc, which is similar to natural knee fluid, since his final two years in Tennessee (2007-2008).
Haynesworth was in good enough shape to pass his physical when the Patriots acquired him in a trade, which is important context here. Then in practice, there wasn't anything noticeable that happened from an injury perspective, although Haynesworth certainly seemed to be trying to get his legs under him.
Much like Moss in 2007, my sense is that Haynesworth's absence isn't anything close to a sound-the-alarms situation for Bill Belichick. I think Belichick views it more in the all-important "managing players' health" category following the lockout.
I don't expect to see Haynesworth Thursday night against the Jaguars in the preseason opener, but at this point, I'd be surprised if he's not ready for the season opener Sept. 12 in Miami.