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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Cadillac believes he will play in '08



Injured Bucs running back Cadillac Williams says he expects to play in 2008.

"Oh yeah, no doubt,'' Williams said. "I definitely have a great shot. I feel good about it.''

Williams, sporting a nine-inch scar on his right knee from surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon, took a break from rehab Friday to discuss his future.

He admitted that shortly after the injury occurred in a game at Carolina last Sept. 30, he doubted whether he would ever play football again.

"You're laying in bed, you're doing rehab and you can't move your leg,'' Williams said. "So you start to think that even though the doctor is telling you, 'Whoa, they're just speculating, be patient.' But we're human. You get to thinking like, 'Man, maybe it is (career threatening).

"But at the same time, I bounced back, did a lot of praying and I feel like I'm going to be okay.''

Williams said he working on building up his right quad muscles. He is able to do some light squats, run stairs at Raymond James Stadium, jog and do full-speed running in the pool.

"I'm actually starting to get active on this thing and put some pressure on it,'' Williams said. "Yesterday, I got where I was able to do some quick ladders and little drills, pushing the sled. I'm actually getting where I can put some pressure on this thing and see where it goes.''

Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery, told Williams it is a 9-12 month injury. But his goal is to be ready for training camp -- and at the very least -- play during the 2008 season.

"Everybody knows it's a patellar tear,'' Williams said. "But it's something that I don't feel is a career-ending injury. I'm showing up every day with my hard hat on and looking to get better and better.

"It's been an uphill battle.

"Me personally, I'd love to be ready for training camp. Ready for opening day. Of course, that's my goal. But at the same time, we've got to be smart with it.''

The Bucs do not appear to be counting on Williams next season -- even if they're not ready to count him out.

Earnest Graham, who rushed for 898 yards and 10 touchdowns in Williams' absence, is expecting a contract extension. The Bucs re-signed Michael Bennett prior to the start of the free agent signing period and signed former Falcons running back Warrick Dunn on Monday.

Andrews told Williams that other players, including Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter and Denver Broncos linebacker Nate Webster have returned from torn patellar injuries.

"There's been a couple guys who had this same injury who came back and have done well,'' Williams said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:59pm]


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