ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Just nine months after suffering a serious knee injury, running back Javonte Williams practiced Wednesday during Denver's training camp acclimation practice.
As the Broncos hoped, Williams was not placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list and is eligible to practice as training camp begins. Head Coach Sean Payton said that the third-year running back will be a member of a group that will mix in full practice sessions with limited days and off-days.
"He would fall into that first group of a planned schedule, as he's recovered from a major surgery," Payton said Wednesday. "We're pleased, obviously, with his progress. We felt really good about it and the spring, and he put the work in."
Denver plans to establish a physical ground game and will look to Williams, an All-Rookie selection in 2021, to do exactly that. Williams rushed for 904 yards and four touchdowns in his first season with the Broncos and led the team in rushing before his injury last season. He will pair with free agent acquisition Samaje Perine in Denver's backfield.
Wide receiver Courtland Sutton said that Williams' work ethic has been evident, even in his first two seasons at the NFL level. That dedication and appreciation for the game has been constant behind the scenes.
"Watching Javonte go down when he went down last year, it hurt me because that's a guy who loves this game," Sutton said. "You can watch the way he goes out there and plays, but far beyond that, the way that the guy shows up for practices, the way he goes into meetings, the way he carries himself."
Sutton added that Williams' return to action has been encouraging to him and a great sign for the offense.
"It's amazing to be able to watch him go through the process the way he did and to be in the space he is right now," Sutton said. "I'm looking forward to watching him go through the rest of camp, go through preseason, going through the rest of the season and getting back to the Javonte that we know he is."
Payton also addressed the status of the Broncos' highest-drafted player in this year's rookie class, wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. The team expects Mims to return to full participation within the next week after recovering from a hamstring injury.
"He'll be full [participation] probably in about four days, five days, maybe a week," Payton said. "It's not the same hamstring — it's something from a workout more recently."