While stressing that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will remain patient with running back Carnell Williams’ rehab from a knee injury, general manager Bruce Allen told Sirius NFL Radio that Williams likely won’t participate in June’s mandatory mini-camp.
“We’re not counting on him for mini-camp,” Allen said.
Williams, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards and was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2005, ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 30 of last year. The standard rehab time for an injury of that nature is anywhere from nine months to a year.
The injury is considered one of the most dangerous to a running back’s career, and there has been some recent speculation that Williams’ career may be in jeopardy.
Allen said that Williams is rehabbing the injury every day at One Buc Place and spends much of his time running the steps at nearby Raymond James Stadium.
Williams told Tampabay.com the same thing during an interview on Friday.
"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.''
Allen also said the Bucs will be patient with Williams’ rehab, which he characterized as going “extremely well.”
“We’re going to make some decisions later this summer when we have a clearer picture of where he is,” Allen said. “We don’t need him for the start of training camp. If he’s ready, we’ll let him go (play). But if he needs more time, we can give it to him.
“If anyone can come back from this type of injury, it’s him.”
Allen said the Bucs could afford to be patient with Williams because they’ve re-signed Michael Bennett and signed Warrick Dunn to complement Earnest Graham, who will likely be the starter if Williams isn’t ready.
Allen said he believed Dunn could be used in “many ways” by head coach Jon Gruden, including as a pass receiver.
“He’s carried the load and he’s overcome critics that said he couldn’t take the pounding,” Allen said. “With him, re-signing Michael Bennett and having Earnest Graham back, we feel like we have a nice portfolio of running backs.
“With Jon Gruden’s creativity, we’ll be able to use them all.”
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Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.