Less than five months out from the regular season opener, Trent Williams believes his rehab is going well and he's on track to be ready to go for the first game.
For the first time in his life, Washington Redskins Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams underwent major surgery to fix a right knee injury that he played much of last season through.
Despite first suffering the injury in an early October game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Williams played in six of Washington's next nine games before being placed on Injured Reserve and having surgery later in the month.
Nearly four months after his procedure, Williams believes he's on pace to make a fully healthy return by the regular season.
"I believe I'm ahead of where I'm supposed to be," Williams told Redskins.com. "So that's encouraging, but I still have to tell myself every day that I don't really have to be ready until September. Although I am healing pretty quickly, I'm still trying to take it slow and make sure I'm 100 percent."
Williams admitted the first few days after surgery were incredibly tough, but he's getting healthier with each passing day.
"It was really, extremely painful," Williams said. "But every day after that it started to ease up, started to get a little better."
The six-time Pro Bowler, who doesn't need a brace or crutches, has just been "trying to get [the knee] back strong."
"All the stuff you have to do with your quad, hip, glute muscle, hamstring," Williams said of his recovery work. "Everything around the joint to help alleviate the knee pain and to kind of help take the pressure off the knee, make everything around it stronger. It kind of gets you back explosive, like what I was used to."
Even though Williams' offseason is consisting almost solely on rehabilitation, he admitted when reflecting on playing through pain last season that he would do so again if faced with the same situation.
"I'm a competitor so I'm always going to be ready to compete," Williams said. "In hindsight it probably wasn't the best thing for me because, obviously I was playing through something that was pretty serious and the surgery was a six-month recovery. I probably should have gotten it out of the way quicker so I could be a little closer to full strength.
Check out the top photos of left tackle Trent Williams from the 2017 season.
"But at the end of the day, like I said I'm a competitor and I always want to compete with my teammates and as a leader, as a captain sometimes you have to sacrifice your body for the betterment of the team and that's the decision I made."
When Williams does return to the field, he'll be blocking for a new starting quarterback in Alex Smith, who Washington acquired in a trade with Kansas City.
"You get a guy in like that, who has a winning pedigree, who has the background he has, the leadership, the experience he has in this league, I think it's nothing short of amazing," Williams said. "We're lucky and now that puts the pressure on us to be a better team, build a better team around him so that his learning curve into this offense is a little easier and we can continue to work as a well-oiled machine.
Along with Williams, the Redskins have put an emphasis on keeping a strong offensive line in front of the quarterback.
Williams, of course, signed a long-term deal with the Redskins in 2015 before starting right tackle Morgan Moses received a multi-year extension last spring.
Then this week, the Redskins re-signed swing tackle Ty Nsekhe while also exercising Brandon Scherff's fifth-year option.
"We have a really talented group, a really deep group," Williams said. "I think the longer we stay together, the better we're going to get and obviously the better we are, the easier it is for our quarterback. So having Ty back is huge, picking up Brandon's option is huge. I think both of them deserve each of those contracts. I hope that we can continue to build off of what we have and be regarded as one of the top offensive lines in the league."