It’s been almost 11 months since Jameson Williams tore his ACL while playing for Alabama in the National Championship game, and 10 months since surgery. He is finally ready for this NFL debut.
Williams was the number 12 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, and he likely would have been the first receiver off the board had he not suffered this injury. Williams has been slowly workin this way back and returned to practice shortly before Thanksgiving. The Lions have been impressed with what they have seen in a short period of time and believe he is ready.
Medically Williams’ recovery seems to be right on track. Waiting until nine months is a smart decision to reduce the risk of re-tearing the ACL. At this point he should be back to full speed when running straight, but changing direction is more challenging. Physically getting strength back in the legs will take additional time. That may not happen until he is 12+ months removed from surgery, so I’m not expecting him to be 100% just yet. Soft tissue injury such as a hamstring strain are common when coming back from a torn ACL. Also a lot of his success will dependent on trusting that knee again. The mental component of recovering from such a significant injury can’t be overlooked.
The combination of mental and physical recovery means Williams won’t be back to his old self just yet. That won’t happen until the 2023 season. He can still have a role, though. Expect the Lions to ease him back in over the next few weeks. We could see some impressive plays, but he needs time.
When asked how he is feeling, Williams responded: “I wouldn’t say I feel rusty, I’m getting back on my feet. I’ve been running around for a little minute now. So, it’s just I’m back out with the team. I wouldn’t say I feel rusty.”
I wouldn’t go out of your way to roster Williams just yet, but if you have someone who is droppable he could have a few valuable weeks late in the season. His usage and performance is going to be unpredictable for a little while.