Cadillac rolling toward another comeback
It's way too early to start making predictions or including RB Cadillac Williams in the Bucs' plans for this fall. But there are indications the 2005 Offensive Rookie of the Year is making significant progress in his battle back from his second serious knee injury in as many years.
The most optimistic account comes from fellow RB Earnest Graham. In talking this week about his expectations for the Bucs' new offense, Graham mentioned Williams as a significant part of the attack. That got my attention, so I asked him to elaborate on Williams' status.
"His spirits are fine," Graham said. "Cadillac's not a guy who gets too down on himself. He's around doing a lot of stuff right now, cutting and doing some things. It's not even near (as bad) as the other injury. It's a lot less severe. I definitely think he'll be fine."
That was followed, later, by QB Luke McCown's assessment:
"Cadillac is coming on strong," he said. "He looks really good."
These accounts are promising considering Williams on Dec. 28 sustained a torn patellar tendon for the second year in a row, this time on his left knee. Just as he was beginning to heat up down the stretch after being activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List, Williams was sidelined again with what's often considered a career-threatening injury for a running back.
But don't forget the important distinction Williams made afterward. This injury, he said, would require less healing and recovery time because the tendon tear occurred at the bone, rather than in the middle. This was not the case when he injured the right knee in September 2007. Doctors consider the most recent tear easier to repair.
I haven't seen or heard from Williams in a while, but he appears to be well on his way back. There's certainly no need to rush him given the acquisition of RB Derrick Ward and the fact Clifton Smith is expected to have an expanded role. But, much like last season, there could be some real intrigue in the fall if a healthy Williams is pacing on the sidelines.