After rough offseason, Trent Williams eyes being ready for camp

ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams battled knee problems for most of last season, which led to surgery and a long recovery. But as the Redskins end their spring workouts, Williams is confident in this: He’ll be ready for training camp.

That would strike one health worry off the Redskins’ list. The six-time Pro Bowler said doctors gave him the go-ahead to “do whatever I can without being too aggressive on it.”

“I’m close. I’m very close,” Williams said.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he was optimistic that the team's players who had offseason surgery will be ready for training camp. However, Gruden also said the Redskins might limit some of them when camp begins July 26 in Richmond.

Tight end Jordan Reed (toes) might not return at the start of camp, though he was here this week going through agility work on the side while teammates practiced. Defensive lineman Stacy McGee underwent groin surgery a few weeks ago, and Gruden said he isn't sure yet if McGee will be ready for camp.

For Williams, the return is a long journey that began on Oct. 2, when he first injured his knee. He sat out four games over eight weeks to rest his knee, hoping it would help him last through the season. But once the Redskins were eliminated from playoff contention, Williams was placed on injured reserve with two games remaining and underwent surgery.

He said doctors were surprised that he tried to play through his injury. Williams said doctors performed a tibial tubercle osteotomy on his right knee. The goal was to make sure the kneecap wasn’t out of place. He said during the surgery they also did a microfracture procedure to help the knee regenerate.

Williams’ return to full health will be a major boost to a line that was ravaged by injuries in 2017. Right tackle Morgan Moses played all season with two bad ankles before needing offseason surgery as well. Backup Ty Nsekhe underwent surgery and didn’t participate in spring practices.

But Williams is the team's top lineman and one of the best left tackles in football. With him, the Redskins can run different types of screens -- and be more effective on those they run -- because of his speed and quickness. Once his knee started becoming an issue, Williams struggled on certain blocks when he had to move to a side.

As he talked to the media on the Redskins' last day of practices, Williams, with his head covered in a gold Redskins knit cap, was in a good mood.

“I’ve been training,” he said. “You don’t really know how football is going to feel until you play football, but I’m back to doing pretty much everything I was doing before.”

Williams said this was the first time he had spent the offseason rehabbing from surgery. Typically, he works out in Houston to prepare for the season, but this year, he spent time there working on his knee. He returned to Washington for the mandatory minicamp.

"The last five months, I've been in a cave, just rehabbing, trying to get as close to the normal as possible," Williams said. "I took it extremely seriously. Being back with these guys, it's definitely uplifting."