Williams has seen firsthand how Griffin recovered from a torn ACL in 2009 and got better over the next two years before winning the Heisman Trophy and going second overall in the NFL draft. He believes that Griffin can pull off another dramatic comeback.
“I expect Rob being great again,” said Williams, who is at the NFL Scouting Combine and is expected to go in the first two rounds of the draft.
Williams recalled Griffin’s first knee injury. It happened early in the third game of that season. But Griffin continued to play until being told at halftime how serious his injury was, and that he couldn’t return.
“First off, he didn’t want to come out of the game,” Williams said. “He stayed until halftime and kept playing and playing.”
It appears that very little has changed for Griffin, who sprained the LCL in the same knee while trying to direct a game-winning drive against Baltimore, and came out only briefly before re-entering the game to play until his leg gave out on him. In the playoffs, it’s believed Griffin tore his LCL and ACL in the first quarter, but insisted on remaining in the game and wouldn’t let doctors check him. He continued to play until late in the fourth quarter, when his leg buckled awkwardly on a non-contact play.
“That just shows what kind of competitor he is,” Williams said. “He won’t give up.”
Williams said Griffin basically lived in the training facility as he worked to come back from his first knee surgery.
“He spent countless hours in the training room, working to get better and better, and he did a good job of coming back in full,” Williams said. “From the time that I seen him, he was always motivated in the training room and kept a positive smile all the time.”
In January, Griffin had his knee reconstructed again. According to his accounts and those of team officials, he is ahead of schedule in his rehab. He is trying for a Week 1 return, but acknowledged last week that only the doctors and God would determine the actual date.
Williams, who still talks to Griffin frequently and said the quarterback gave him insight on what to expect at the combine, said he has every reason to believe this comeback will be successful as well.
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