Ryan Williams well on the road to recovery
When training camp opened in Flagstaff for the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, Williams simply looked like the back the team drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech.
Taking advantage of Beanie Wells being placed on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) List, Williams took on a sizable workload in his first practice of camp -- so much so, that it surprised even himself.
"I actually practiced more than I thought I would today, for my first day," Williams said. "They said I was going to be limited in my plays and everything so I didn't know that I was going to run routes, I didn't know that I would get that many carries, and I really didn't know that I was going to get the ball on that screen."
If he was surprised, it didn't show. The second-year pro looked very comfortable on the upper practice field at NAU, even if he believes he's not quite at full strength just yet.
"I do, I do," Williams answered when asked whether he has any lingering effects from the torn patellar tendon in his right knee. "I'll admit, I'm not 100 percent, but I'm as close to it as I've been since August.
"If I were to guess, I'd say I'm about 85 or 90 (percent), so throughout the rest of this month and August, I'm trying to get that last ten to 15 percent back."
Williams had one of the highlight moments of Wednesday's practice when he took a handoff from quarterback John Skelton, side- stepped defensive lineman David Carter and zig-zagged though several defenders on what would have been a long gain. The practice, after all, was a non-contact walk-through.
The crowd in attendance didn't seem to mind, as they voiced their approval.
"It was cool, I loved the support," he said. "I'm sure a lot of people out there were paying attention to my rehab, my recovery and my progress, so for them to be paying attention to rooting me on today felt good."
Despite his impressive first day, Williams knows there will be competition for carries when Wells returns to practice following offseason knee surgery.
"Beanie will be back, and he'll be himself and I'm ready to do a 1-2 punch," Williams said. "That's my bro, man. For the last two to three months we've been in the rehab facility together and I feel like this injury has brought us closer together."
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