He didn't participate in Tampa Bay's three-day voluntary mini-camp at One Buc Place this week, but Bucs running back Carnell "Cadillac" Williams suggested he was making significant progress in terms of rehabbing his surgically repaired left knee.
"It's doing good and coming along well," said Williams.
Williams, 26, has suffered two devastating knee injuries in consecutive seasons, the latter of which occurred in Tampa Bay's 2008 regular season finale vs. Oakland. Although the torn patellar tendon injuries were sustained to different knees, they had one thing in common – the injuries occurred on Williams' longest runs of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, respectively.
The good news is although he suffered the knee injury in late-December, Williams is making much quicker progress now compared to the first knee injury in ‘07, which was considered more serious in nature.
"There is no doubt it's a lot different," said Williams. "Three months after my first knee injury I was still on crutches. Right now I'm actually walking around and have started some straight-ahead running. This here is a lot different."
The former first-round draft pick and NFL Rookie of the Year isn't likely to participate in any of Tampa Bay's organized team activities this offseason, but he is already doing straight-ahead running and limited cutting and pulling the blocking sled in his rehab, which is something he couldn't do until the eighth month of his rehab after the right knee injury he sustained in '07.
Williams hopes to be ready to go full speed by July.
"Right now I'm just taking it day by day," said Williams. "My whole goal is to be ready for training camp."
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris has been impressed with Williams' attitude and work ethic, and is anxious to get him into a rotation that already includes Derrick Ward, Earnest Graham and Clifton Smith.
"Cadillac has been with our trainers," said Morris. "He can do some individual things, but he didn't in this camp. He's working with Todd [Toriscelli] and doing great. Todd feels really good about him. He's got a projected date, maybe training camp, but we'll see. Everybody is keeping their fingers crossed. I know this town supports him and wants to see him. I'm a big supporter of Cadillac. I remember sitting in the box, me and Monte and the quality control men saying, ‘Get the ball to the ‘Llac. I want to go back to those days. I am feeling pretty good about that."