ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Fighting for extra yardage on the field, Javonte Williams is determined to not go down.

As he rehabs his knee, it appears the 23-year-old running back is also determined to not be dragged down.

Less than eight months after tearing his ACL, LCL and PLC, Williams was back on the practice field during the Broncos’ OTA practice on Thursday.

Just Williams presence at practice was a remarkable sight to see. Players who have the type of damage to their knee that Williams suffered typically miss at least a year. Williams was injured during Denver’s Week 4 game against the Raiders in October last year.

While Williams isn’t 100 percent back from the injury yet, the fact he was on the field for Thursday’s practice was a massive step to him being back well ahead of the typical timeline for a similar injury.

“Listen, we do a medical report every night. We list the players as full, limited or out. He’s working in a limited capacity,” Sean Payton said after Thursday’s OTA practice about Williams. “We are being smart. Obviously—and I said this to you before—we were encouraged heading into this time of the season. It’s good to have him out here.”

During the Broncos’ rookie minicamp earlier in the month, Payton said the expectation was for Williams to be ready for the start of training camp, which begins at the end of July.

Following Thursday’s appearance, in which Williams participated in portions of practice, that goal of being back in just over two months seems realistic.

On the field, the former second-round pick was jogging and cutting, which was a very encouraging sign. Outside of Russell Wilson, Williams has a strong case to be the Broncos’ second-most valuable player on offense.

“Javonte is one of the best backs in the game,” Wilson said after Thursday’s practice. “He’s a guy that’s hard to tackle. He has great hands. He’s great in protection. He strikes guys in protection. He runs through holes. He runs through tackles. He brings a lot of great confidence to us in what he can do.”

The biggest winner during the first week of OTAs was Javonte Williams. The second-biggest winner was the Broncos’ offense because how much Williams will mean to the unit in 2023.

On Thursday, Williams proved he is on the fast track to being back.


Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.