Williams suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship Game, and the Lions have taken his rehab slow and steady. Coach Dan Campbell has said that Williams is ahead of schedule, but the team is going to make sure his leg is back to full strength before they put him back out there.
“We want to get him out there as fast as possible, and is it crucial? It is crucial, but not until he gets his strength up,” Campbell said. “He needs a lot of strength development in that body, his lower extremities, his legs, his knees, his everything. So, until he’s able to stabilize himself, and really get some strength that we feel good about to where he can protect himself, he can protect that knee, and he can compete, and compete at a high level we’re not going to put him out there.”
In the meantime, Williams has been present at every Lions practice, football in hand, going through mental reps. He even traveled with the team to Indianapolis for joint practices while most injured players stayed behind in Allen Park.
It’s unclear how much time beyond the first four games Williams will miss. He is not allowed to practice during the first four weeks of the season, and the Lions have a Week 6 bye. Because of this, many have estimated his NFL debut will not come until at least November.
UPDATE: The Lions have also placed FB Jason Cabinda, DE Romeo Okwara, and DE Josh Paschal on reserve/PUP. After also cutting veteran linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton, the Lions are now down to the 80-man deadline.