Let the Healing Begin

Posted Dec 20, 2005

Darrent Williams is spending four to five hours a day doing rehabilitation work to recover from a pulled groin, but he doesn't know exactly when he'll return.


Darrent Williams is progressing in his recovery from a pulled groin, but healing is largely "all about Mother Nature," he said. PHOTO:TREVOR BROWN, JR. / RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- No matter what transpires Saturday afternoon, the Broncos' second 2005 game against the Oakland Raiders could hardly be more different for cornerback Darrent Williams than the 31-17 game between the teams at McAfee Coliseum on Nov. 13.

On that bright, sun-splashed day, he single-handedly turned the game back in Denver's direction, halting the Raiders' surge of momentum in a 10-0 fourth-quarter run and reversing it with his 80-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

But instead of darting into open field, all Williams can hope to do on Saturday is to climb onto a stationary bike and keep his cardiovascular conditioning up. Such is the life of a cornerback working on a potential return by the playoffs from a pulled groin.

Williams, in fact, only began such work on Monday -- a full eight days after he suffered the injury during the early moments of the Broncos' 12-10 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 11.

"I started cardio(vascular work), riding the bike (Monday), he said. "It's feeling better. I can't extend all the way, but I can get on the bike and put the seat up kind of close, get a little cardio. I do cardio about 40 minutes a day."

While it's a far cry from being up to game speed, it's nevertheless a promising sign for Williams -- at least, compared to where he was last week.

"I really couldn't walk," Williams said. "I had problems sitting down. I had problems sleeping. But now I can walk pretty normal. Sitting down is kind of easy now. Sometimes I sit down for a long period of time, and I get up and it kind of hurts.

"I'm feeling better. That's the whole key. I'm feeling better day by day."

But not well enough to play -- and that could be a while, considering the nature of the injury and how it impacts his on-field mobility.

"With this injury and the things I have to do at my position, my groin can't have (problems), because I'm turning and running, turning my hips all the time," Williams said. "I can't really go out there at 50 percent."

That makes it difficult to pinpoint when Williams might be able to return. Different doctors have given him varying timetables in recent weeks.

"I've been talking to different doctors; they told me six to eight. The specialist I went to (a week earlier) told me three to four," Williams said. "It's up and down. It's fluctuating right now. I don't know what it is.

"I know right now I'm not ready at all. I'm not even close to being ready."

But he thinks he will be ready before the season ends -- and if the Broncos can earn a wild-card weekend bye, that would only assist the process.

"I'm planning on coming back and playing this year," Williams said. "I'm not looking to next year right now. I'm looking at doing whatever I've got to do to come back this year, so hopefully we'll get a bye and I'll get an extra week to rest and come back."

But the Broncos' secondary fared reasonably well without Williams in last Saturday's 28-17 win at Buffalo, and Champ Bailey feels as though it can do so again Saturday.

"I expected that because we've got guys behind (Williams) that are ready to play and want to get out there," Bailey said. "They had their opportunity to get out there and play and they did well."

In the meantime, Williams said he'll use every avenue he can find in order to aid the healing process.

"It’s real aggressive. Doing a little stuff, jogging and stuff like that. Working on me a lot, putting in four or five hours a day. Trying to go at it real tough," he said. "(I can) just ice it, doing some jogging, running in the pool, trying to get some things loose. Everything, (even a) laser -- it's kind of helping everything in my blood start circulating so the healing process goes a little quicker, but I'm pretty much doing everything I can in the training room to get back sooner."

But ultimately, all the gadgetry in the world will be secondary compared to how his body handles the process.

"It's all about Mother Nature and my body healing on its own," Williams said.