Giants' Leonard Williams discusses playing through injury, trying to avoid surgery 'at all costs'

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Leonard Williams goes to tackle Tony Pollard
Leonard Williams goes to tackle Tony Pollard

One could question the three-year, $63 million deal the Giants gave Leonard Williams before the season, but you can't question his heart.

The defensive lineman hasn't missed a game due to injury, and he wants his own streak to continue, despite injuring his triceps against the Los Angeles Chargers out west.

“I think the coaches just know that I’ve been dinged up and struggling with it. They know I want to finish the season, though. I want to finish the season with my team," Williams told reporters on Thursday.

The Giants never thought it was a serious injury, but there was a real chance it could have cost Williams his season.

Instead, it's been the opposite - he played in 65 percent of snaps against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15, and then 71 percent the next week in Philadelphia. Those are his lowest percent totals this season, but he did set a career-high for tackles (69) against the Eagles.

“I’ve obviously been limited throughout the week," said Williams. "I come in for treatment in the morning, stay for treatment after practice and stuff like that. … During the game, I just make sure I tape it up, take some Tylenol, stuff like that, just trying to fight through it....

“During the game, I have so much adrenaline, especially in the first half. I have so much fight in me that I’m not gonna be the type to roll over and be limping and doing stuff like that. Especially if I say I’m gonna go and I’m gonna be out there, I’m gonna be out there 100 percent. Even though it’s banged up during the week and it’s bothering me at night time when I’m at home, there’s small things where I would like, just reaching for something, I’ll feel it, stuff like that, during the game. I know that, especially this time of year, it’d be rare for one player on the field that’s not dealing with something like that. It’s rare for a player this late in the year, this late in my career, at that, too, to not be mending or dealing with something throughout the game. I’ve been trained to fight through pain and adversity. I want to be out there with my guys.”

Williams thinks he can avoid surgery, and he wants to "at all costs" due to both personal experience and advice from veterans around the league who told him "if you can avoid surgery, do it."

Williams noted that he had a labrum tear in each shoulder in college, and he still has nagging effects with his surgically repaired shoulder, but not the one he received regular treatment on.