Kyle Williams has taken a new big step forward on a surgically repaired left foot.
The Bills defensive tackle has been cleared to train on a limited basis. 105 sides
“Yeah, it’s great to be back even for only a few plays here and there,” Williams said after taking part in about half of the full-team sessions with his fellow starters in the 2nd week of voluntary practices, “just getting my foot in the door. And hopefully, when we’re able to training camp, I’ll be full bore.”
Williams’ recovery is a little bit in advance of schedule after being cleared for practice last week by both team doctors and specialist Robert Anderson. It was Anderson who performed the operation in November to get rid of bone spurs that were tearing at the player’s Achilles tendon.
After participating in only individual drills in the 1st voluntary minicamp training last week, Williams asserted he took part in only a snap or 2 per team session.
Coach Chan Gailey said he is taking an extremely cautious approach in easing Williams back into training.
Though he’s experiencing some soreness, Williams said that was to be expected as part of the recovery process. The best part is that he no longer has to drill a big hole in the back of his left cleat, as he probably did last year, to relieve the pressure of the injury that had been pressing him for most of his 6-year NFL career.
A starter since his rookie season, Williams was a 2010 Pro Bowl selection and the team’s most consistent defensive lineman. He had also proved durable, having missed only 2 games before last season, when Williams lasted just 5 games and sat out 3 more before choosing to have season-ending surgery.
Williams is being counted on to anchor a revamped defensive line that features new pass-rushing expert defensive end Mario Williams, who was signed in free agency in March. It is also a unit that should ideally include defensive end Shawne Merriman, who came back to practice last week after having season-ending surgery in November to fix a partially torn right Achilles tendon.
Gailey is impressed with what he’s seen so far from Merriman, the 3-time Pro Bowl selection who has been limited to playing in just 8 games during the last 2 seasons because of the injury.
“He looks quick to me. He’s coming off the edge with that same speed and quickness that I remember,” Gailey said, of the NFL’s 2005 Defensive Rookie of the Year. “The neatest thing about it is that he is saying he feels great. It isn’t one of those where he’s feeling something or making an attempt to hide something.”
In other injury stories, Gailey declared backup QB Tyler Thigpen will miss at least this week of training as a result of an abdominal strain. Gailey believes Thigpen should return next week.
Thigpen is competing with newly acquired free agent Vince Young for the No. 2 position behind starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Buffalo Bills have 2 more voluntary practices this week, and 4 the week after next before opening a 3-day mandatory minicamp on June 19.