After an offseason of cautious optimism regarding the status of Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton revealed arguably the most shocking news of the entire offseason thus far: Williams was a limited participant at the team's on-field OTAs in late May. Williams suffered a major knee injury, tearing both his ACL and LCL against the Las Vegas Raiders on October 2, 2022.
For those not inclined to do the math on that, that's 235 days. 33 weeks and four days.
33 weeks. That should send some shivers up your spine, right?
Williams is one of the Denver Broncos' most important players. He's become one of the most beloved players on the team. Of course, nobody wants him rushing back from injury, and nobody wants to see him get hurt again. Everyone wants Javonte out there at full strength.
The Denver Broncos have an all new training staff now under head coach Sean Payton. I'm not sure how much that factors into all of this, but coming back from that type of knee injury as quickly as Javonte Williams seems to be doing? Well, that would be bordering on unprecedented. And there's evidence to prove he was, in fact, out there.
This news is absolutely unexpected. Even if you were super optimistic about Javonte Williams being available this year, it's hard to fathom anyone being back at this point. When Sean Payton said the last time he met with the media (at rookie minicamp) that Williams may not have to go on the PUP to start training camp, it raised a ton of eyebrows. It also brought about many skeptics who even theorized that coach Payton was lying to everyone's face about Williams being in a good spot and that he was just saying it to save face for what they assumed was a devastating injury.
Well, we can clearly see that Payton was not, in fact, lying. He was telling the truth. And in reality, perhaps Williams was more ready than anyone -- even Payton -- could have known a few weeks ago.
The misconception about Williams' injury seemed to be that a lot of people were believing a rumor that there was significant additional damage to Williams' knee that wasn't widely reported. In reality, there wasn't nerve or cartilage damage, so the recovery process wasn't as grueling or long as many assumed it would be.
And now, here we are. 33 weeks and four days since Williams' injury against the Raiders and the conversation can now permanently shift from skepticism over his Week 1 availability to optimism that we're going to see him in uniform throughout OTAs and training camp.
This is a massive update for the Broncos, for Williams, and for an offense that is seemingly going to be leaning heavily on the running game in 2023.