Running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was worried all week about ball security after fumbling the ball twice in the last three games. Williams, however, has much more than fumbling to worry about after leaving Sunday’s 20-7 victory over the Carolina Panthers with a right knee injury.
On a first down carry with 3:13 left in the first quarter, Williams scampered down the right sideline for an 18-yard run. However, Williams tried to make a move on defensive back Chris Harris, but was hit and his right leg was bent behind him as he fell to the ground. Williams immediately grabbed his right knee and had to be carted off the field. He showed his displeasure, punching the cart and covering his face as he was taken off the field.
Williams, who had 798 yards rushing on 290 carries and one touchdown in 2006, had been battling sore ribs after sustaining the injury in a season-opening 20-6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. Williams has 54 carries for 208 yards and three touchdowns so far this season. The third-year running back had six carries for 41 yards against the Panthers before his knee injury.
“We are going to reserve comment until we know officially, but we have to be honest too,” head coach Jon Gruden told 620 WDAE. “It doesn’t look good and we are concerned.”
The injury was first reported as a right knee sprain, but more tests must be done to determine whether Williams did damage to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). If the former Auburn running back is out for the season, the Bucs will turn to running backs Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham to carry the load in the backfield. The Bucs also would be looking for a running back to replace Williams, either in free agency or possibly calling up running back Kenneth Darby from the practice squad.
Pittman and Graham did a good job of filling in for Williams after his injury rushing for a combined 138 yards on 32 carries and one touchdown.
Bucs left tackle Luke Petitgout was also injured in the first half of Sunday's game. Like Williams, Petitgout suffered a knee injury. Although he did not return to the game, Petitgout's injury is not believed to be as serious as Williams'.
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