- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here is my only knock on "Hard Knocks" this week: There was zero information about injuries.
HBO has an all-access pass to the Miami Dolphins, and that is the biggest draw of the show. There is very little the cameras cannot shoot or record sound with -- and that includes injured players.
Miami, like most NFL teams, at times can be vague with injuries. Many clubs view it as a competitive disadvantage. Yet, the media and fans want to know why an important player is missing practices or games and how long he will be out.
"Hard Knocks" has unprecedented access and footage of injured players like receivers Brian Hartline. A leg injury has bothered Hartline since the offseason and it has hurt his chances of being the team’s No. 1 receiver. But Hartline wasn’t even mentioned in Tuesday’s debut episode.
Izzy Gould of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel did a great job catching up with NFL Films producer Rob Gehring for an explanation. Gehring said doctor-patient confidentiality in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has a lot to do with it.
But there are different ways to spotlight injuries. HBO can interview Hartline first, to see if he wants to provide an explanation. Or HBO can at least show how Hartline is rehabbing behind the scenes and trying to get back on the field. The access is there.
It is a nitpicky argument to bring up for an otherwise great show. But if bigger names on the Dolphins get injured this summer in training camp or the preseason, I would hope "Hard Knocks" doesn’t continue to look the other way.