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Broncos 'Anticipate' RB Javonte Williams Ready for Season's Start

An update on Pookie's status.

Contrary to speculation, Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said he "anticipates" running back Javonte Williams, who's returning from a multi-ligament knee injury, will play in Week 1 of the 2023 regular season.

“I think he’s on track," Paton told reporters Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "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 [if he’s not ready at the start of the season]. We’ll have another back or two to be ready if he can’t go.”

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Williams underwent corrective surgery after shredding his right knee amid the Broncos' Oct. 2 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders; testing uncovered ACL, LCL, and posterolateral corner tears. The bruising back ended his sophomore campaign with just 47 carries for 204 scoreless yards.

Because of the timing and severity of the injury, and depending on his progress, Williams is a candidate to open the fall on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which would cost him at least six games. ESPN's Jeff Legwold reported in February that Williams may be sidelined "well into the 2023 season."

However, the 22-year-old recently shared that he's attacking the rehab process, "able to do everything they ask me to do."

Williams remains Denver's (presumed) starter, though its brain trust is likely to insure the position via March free agency or April's draft. The team currently has four other RBs under contract: Chase Edmonds, Damarea Crockett, Tyler Badie, and Tyreik McAllister.

"We’re always looking," Paton affirmed. "I know it’s a deep free agent class. It’s a deep draft class for running backs, so we’re always going to look to upgrade.

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