His 2011 season was over before it really started. A painful bone spur that was grinding on his Achilles made jogging extremely painful, let along firing off the ball out of a three-point stance. So Kyle Williams went on injured reserve and underwent surgery to remove the bone spur a month ago. On Thursday the cast on Williams' left foot came off.
"I got the cast off today and four weeks post op without my cast on my ankle is more flexible today than it's been in years," said Williams. "It's been a mess with that spur in there. It's been a long time coming."
Williams has had the bone spur on his left heel since his college playing days. He's been able to play pretty effectively in spite of it, but it became problematic in the past two years.
"Over time it's just gotten bigger and bigger and gotten worse and worse and the last couple of years it's been pretty steady, really hurting," he said. "This year it just kind of came to a head and was eating away at my Achilles. The doctor described it like a violin bow going across the strings. It was grinding and ripping and fraying it a little bit."
Famed orthopedist Dr. Richard Anderson, known across the NFL as a top foot specialist was consulted by Williams and ultimately performed the surgery.
"I had a small tear in my Achilles and from the way it was fraying and as jagged as the spur was he said it looked like a little pick axe," Williams said. "He didn't know if it was going to be one play or 10 plays, but it was on the verge of rupture, but you do that and you're out a calendar year."
Fortunately Williams avoided that. Instead Anderson pulled the Achilles back, removed the bone spur from his heel then re-attached the Achilles while also stitching up the frayed portion of the tendon.
"He said it went great, no issues," said Williams. "I ought to be good to go and feel as good as I felt in my career."
Since Williams did not rupture the Achilles there was no need to re-graft the tendon. It was still intact, it just needed to be repaired with some minor stitching. Often times players that have to get their Achilles re-grafted after a rupture lose their explosion in that leg. That will not be the case with Williams, which is good news knowing his explosion off the ball is a key component of his game.
Williams prognosis is a six-month rehab process, which has already begun with range of motion exercises. Now that the cast is off he'll be in an immobilizer boot for another month. That will be followed by rehabilitation in the pool, and then jogging in the pool before moving to dry land.
Change of direction and regular running will come before finally getting into football related movement. The timetable should have him more than ready for training camp next summer.
"I'll just keep progressing until I get to where things get normal again," Williams said. "He said once I get there it should feel as good as it's been in a while. It's a relief. It's been there for a while. I'm glad to have it taken care of. I ought to be good as new once it heals up. That's a relief to me. I'm excited about what's in front of me. It's been a long time coming."