ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After enduring a devastating knee injury that prematurely ended his 2022 season, Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams is now on the cusp of making a triumphant return to the gridiron. It has been just over 10 months since Williams suffered a torn ACL and LCL in his right knee during the Broncos’ game against the Raiders on October 2nd. His arduous journey to recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, and this weekend, Williams is poised to take a significant step forward as he is set to play in the Broncos’ preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif.
Confirmation from Coach Sean Payton
On Tuesday, Broncos coach Sean Payton confirmed the news that Williams and fans had been eagerly awaiting. Payton stated after the team’s training camp practice that Williams will see playing time in the upcoming preseason game. Payton expressed his optimism about Williams’ progress, saying, “He’s doing well, we’ll have a plan — I plan on playing him. We’ll see pitch count-wise towards the end of the week. We’ll be smart, but I do see him playing.”
As a second-round draft pick by the Broncos in 2021, Williams quickly established himself as a formidable force on the field. He earned a spot on the All-Rookie team and showcased his exceptional skills as a running back. However, his promising season took a devastating turn when he suffered the knee injury. Initially given a recovery timeline of 12-to-18 months, Williams refused to let adversity define his journey.
Throughout the offseason, Williams embraced a rigorous rehabilitation regimen, leaving no stone unturned in his quest to return for the regular-season opener on September 10th against the Raiders in Denver. His determination and unwavering commitment to his rehabilitation paid off, as he made significant progress during the spring and early summer. Williams’s impressive recovery led to him being cleared for full participation in training camp, bypassing placement on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
Denied the opportunity to compete in the Broncos’ preseason opener last Friday night in Arizona, Williams patiently awaited the day he could step back onto the field. Despite the challenges he faced during his recovery, Williams remained steadfast in his belief that he would regain the confidence necessary to excel. He remarked, “It was hard at first… but each week my confidence got bigger and bigger. Now that I’m back on the field, I think this is the highest that [my confidence] has ever been.”
Throughout the offseason, both Coach Payton and the Broncos organization expressed unwavering faith in Williams’ ability to bounce back. Their confidence was evident in their offseason decision-making as the team opted not to draft a running back from a deep class in April. Additionally, they passed on signing numerous veterans available in free agency, instead securing the services of Samaje Perine. This faith speaks volumes about Williams’ immense talent and the value he brings to the team.
A Dynamic and Impactful Player
Williams’ powerful and relentless playing style endeared him to both his teammates and fans alike. His ability to bulldoze defenders made him one of the team’s most popular young players, and he left an indelible mark during his rookie season, accumulating an impressive 903 rushing yards. Prior to his injury, Williams had already amassed 204 rushing yards in three and a half games, demonstrating his immense potential.
As Williams prepares to return to the field, the anticipation among Broncos fans is palpable. His triumphant comeback will not only bolster the team’s running game but also serve as a testament to his perseverance and resilience. Williams’ story is one of resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit—a reminder that setbacks are merely opportunities for comebacks.