For at least the fifth time during the past two seasons the Washington Redskins are preparing for a game with the belief that safety Brandon Meriweather will be in their defensive lineup.

Only once so far have the Redskins been right about that. They’re clinging to the conviction this week that Meriweather will be a difference-maker in their secondary when they face the Packers and their standout quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday in Green Bay.

“I’d love to have him back” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said Thursday at Redskins Park. “I haven’t seen him play for so long I’m not sure. But hopefully — I said the same thing last week. I thought he was going to play last week and he didn’t. So we’ll see.”

Meriweather has played one of the Redskins’ 17 regular season games since he signed with the team as a free agent prior to last season. He had a series of knee injuries last season and missed portions of training camp and the preseason this summer as he worked his way back. He played in the preseason finale then suffered a groin injury last week that caused him to be inactive for Monday night’s season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“It’s been very frustrating” Meriweather said. “I told you all last year the worst thing is sitting there watching your team go through something and you’re just sitting there watching.”

Meriweather hurt his left knee during the preseason last year. The Redskins thought he’d be back for the 2012 season opener. But he re-injured his knee in practice and didn’t play.

The Redskins penciled in his return for a late-September game at Tampa. But Meriweather was injured again that time in a bizarre collision with wide receiver Aldrick Robinson during pregame warmups.

The next target for Meriweather was a mid-November game against the Eagles.

Meriweather did play and played well. But he suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during that game.

Fast forward to this season. Meriweather was on the field for pregame warmups Monday but Coach Mike Shanahan said after the 33-27 defeat to the Eagles that Meriweather’s groin had been too sore for him to play.

Now the Redskins are readying for another prospective Meriweather return and the player is confident his knee is sound.