Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth is likely suffering from rhabdomyolysis, according to a league source.
Haynesworth lashed out Mike Shanahan after the Redskins' 23-3 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens, ripping the Redskins coach for attributing Haynesworth's absence from practice last week to headaches without revealing more about the nature of the illness.
Haynesworth experienced the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, according to a source. Those symptoms included dizziness, nausea, vomiting and muscle swelling. He was treated by team doctors, with rhabdomyolysis believed to be the likely cause.
Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and can result in kidney damage.
When muscle is damaged, a protein pigment called myoglobin is released into the bloodstream and filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Myoglobin breaks down into potentially harmful compounds.
Exertion and hot conditions exacerbate the problem, but in most mild cases people recover in a week or two. It is treated with aggressive hydration to dilute the urine and flush the myoglobin from the kidneys.
Haynesworth's symptoms were not at the extreme end of the spectrum, and he recovered enough to take part in the preseason game with the Ravens. However, because he missed practice time, he was told he would only play in the second half of the game, with the reserves.
Haynesworth's relationship with Shanahan has been frayed since the coach took over this past offseason.
Some of Haynesworth's teammates and coaches have privately questioned the severity of his ailments. Haynesworth's comments Saturday indicate that he believes Shanahan intentionally did not reveal the full scope of Haynesworth's health issues.
The incident marks another chapter in this running sideshow, which ultimately could still lead to Haynesworth's departure, perhaps even by the trade deadline.