Coming off of Achilles surgery Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams was supposed to be a spectator for the duration of spring workouts. On Tuesday the only spring was the one in his step as the 2010 Pro Bowler was participating in individual position drills with his fellow defensive linemen.
"(I'm) doing some football things, no team reps," said Williams. "(I'm) not fully cleared for that stuff yet but things are looking up."
Williams had Achilles surgery back in November where his tendon was detached to remove a bone spur on his heel that was rubbing against the tendon. Then the Achilles was laid back down and re-attached. The rehab typically takes four to five months then steadily conditioning is followed by strength training and football work.
That process was expected to take until training camp at the end of July, but Williams' five-day a week rehab regimen has moved along at an impressive pace. So much so that it even caught his head coach off guard.
"It surprised me," admitted Gailey. "They just said he can go out there and do some individual drills and he did that (Tuesday). All the little fundamental things he can keep doing right now will help him in the long run, but we just don't want to push it too fast."
But that's what Williams was during the 15-minute individual drill period Tuesday, fast. Explosive out of a three-point stance, the defensive tackle 'get-off' didn't look that far off from his 2010 form. There was no let up in his change of direction ability either as he routinely cut off the surgically repaired foot to pursue a 'would be' ball carrier in defensive line drills.
"I guess I've gone to another level with my training the last three weeks or so," he said. "I go from running to light change of directions, and the last couple of weeks really been doing some hard change direction stuff. It felt good."
As encouraging as Williams' progress is to this point Gailey wants to make sure they protect Williams from himself. They know Williams' work ethic and no nonsense approach to the game is something that may have to be reined in from time to time.
"With Kyle you have to be careful not to push it too fast," said Gailey. "He wants to be out there today… yesterday. You have to make sure you just don't go too fast. He'll get himself ready and get himself in shape."
At this point Williams appears ahead of schedule. It still may be a while before participating in team work becomes a reality, but all Williams sees is he's one step closer to real football.
"It felt really good and hopefully we're on an uphill climb and we're just going to continue to get better and better," said Williams. "Keep going up."