Broncos optimistic RB Javonte Williams will be ready for Week 1

Denver Broncos general manager George Paton made a surprising statement about running back Javonte Williams at the NFL combine earlier this week: “Javonte, we feel, will be healthy.”

Williams tore both his ACL and LCL last October, a complicated injury that might force him to begin the 2023 season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which would rule him out for at least the first four games.

Despite the running back’s knee injury, Paton seems to believe Williams will be ready for the team’s season opener. Williams has also said this offseason that he hopes to be back for training camp, which is an even more optimistic — and likely unrealistic — timeline.

“I think he’s on track,” Paton said. “I don’t want to put a date on it, but he’s out there jogging. He’s working his butt off. He’s rehabbing. Javonte — they anticipate he would be ready for the start of the season. We’ll have a plan. We’ll have another back or two to be ready if he can’t go [Week 1].”

Williams returning in time for Denver’s season opener would be a remarkable recovery considering that J.K. Dobbins missed nine games in 2022 after suffering a similar injury in 2021.

While Williams and the team are optimistic about the running back’s recovery timeline, the Broncos will have a fallback option in place to be safe.

“We need to add,” Paton said. “We’re high on some of the guys that are up, some of the free agents. … We do need to add at that position.”

In addition to having five draft picks to use in April, Denver could also add target running backs during free agency. Latavius Murray is an in-house candidate to re-sign, and coach Sean Payton has teased the possibility of pursuing Josh Jacobs during free agency.

The NFL’s free agency negotiating period will begin on March 13.


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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire