ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On Oct. 2, 2022, Javonte Williams suffered a devastating knee injury, tearing his ACL, LCL and PLC in the Broncos’ Week 4 game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Typically, an ACL injury can take anywhere from nine months to a year to fully heal. But with the additional ligaments also damaged, the timeframe can double from just an ACL injury. The prospects for Denver’s promising second-round pick were devastating, not just for the rest of the 2022 season, but the 2023 season was also up in the air.

But the 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back didn’t listen to the typical timeframe.

In fact, it appears Williams cut the typical recovery timeline in half.

Less than eight months after the significant injury, Williams was on the field for the Broncos’ offseason program.

On Sunday he checked off another box as he wasn’t placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list heading into training camp. And, on Wednesday, when the Broncos took the field for the first time in camp, Javonte Williams was participating in drills and running, less than ten months after an injury that was supposed to keep him out well over a year.

“We’re pleased with his progress,” Payton said after the Broncos’ first practice of training camp on Wednesday. “We felt really good about it in the spring. And yet, he put the work in.”

As it stands, all signs point to Williams being ready to go for the start of the season. But just because Williams is practicing, doesn’t mean the Broncos won’t be smart with his return.

“Listen, any player who had a significant injury a year ago, [Vice President of Player Health & Performance] Beau [Lowery] and I will sit down and we’ll have a group one that would be someone like him that will have days on, limited days, day off, so there’s a process. It won’t only be with him, there will be a handful of those players,” Payton explained on Wednesday. “Then we’ll have a mid group of players that we’ll have a set schedule with load management. The last group will be veteran players like Kareem [Jackson]. We have a handful of those guys that we’ll be smart with. So he would fall into that first group of a planned scheduled as he’s recovering from a major surgery.”

Javonte Williams was supposed to be in a training room months away from returning from this devastating injury once training camp rolled around.

Instead, it appears he’s on track to be the Broncos’ starting running back Week 1 against the same team he got injured against last year.


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.