Bad knee injury knocks Redskins LT Trent Williams off kilter
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Trent Williams isn’t used to this.
The Washington Redskins’ stellar left tackle for years has played through so many injuries that he figures “something has to be torn or broken” to not be in uniform. After missing just three games for injury from 2012-2016, Williams has missed three of the past five with so severe a problem in his right knee that it’ll require surgery at some point.
Williams didn’t practice Monday and insists he doesn’t know if he’ll be ready to play Thursday night at the Dallas Cowboys after sitting out the Redskins’ Thanksgiving Day game against the New York Giants. He deemed himself a game-time decision after missing roughly “72 miles of reps” in the past week.
“I haven’t really had to deal with anything like this in my career,” Williams said. “Usually I just fight through something for a couple weeks and eventually it’ll heal. But this one is a little different. I’m taking it week by week.”
Williams has not practiced 15 out of the past 18 days the Redskins have had to report on a player’s injury status and was listed as limited the other three. The 29-year-old has shown he can play without the aid of practice, but it’s certainly not ideal.
“That was a major part of it with the short week, without a doubt,” coach Jay Gruden said. “He lays it all on the line on Sunday afternoon, and for him to come back on a short week with no practice and play on a Thursday is very difficult for him. Hopefully with a couple days extra rest, he will be able to play against Dallas, but we will see.”
Williams said taking the Thanksgiving game off “gives (the knee) a little more time to calm down after playing” at New Orleans on Nov. 19. Asked Monday how he was feeling about Thursday at Dallas, Williams wryly responded: “I feel like we’re going to go out there and put the game together and win.”
That would get the Redskins to .500 and keep their faint playoff hopes alive. But, for real, Williams said “we’re going to see” about his status.
Williams won’t be playing left guard after Shawn Lauvao was put on injured reserve with a stinger. That’s 6-foot-8 backup tackle Ty Nsekhe’s job after Williams didn’t think he could handle that adjustment for an entire half.
“I was so pleased to see Ty move in at guard,” said Williams, who played part of a game at guard last season. “I can’t remember a time in my career where I looked down and the left guard is towering over me, the center is an inch taller than me. I’m basically the shortest guy on the line.”
At least Williams knows he has a chance to be on the line after the Redskins have already put Lauvao, center Spencer Long and tackle T.J. Clemmings on IR. Williams, the offensive line’s leader, reached out to those players as soon as it was clear their seasons were over.
“You kind of know,” Williams said. “Especially when you got nerve damage: That’s scary because you never know when that can come back. That’s a touchy situation, as well. Spence having problems with both of his quad tendons. The writing was on the wall. We kind of knew that those guys were going to have a tough time trying to finish through the season.”
Williams is trying.
During his eight-year career, teammates and coaches have constantly lauded him for playing through injury. He’s earning the same respect this time as he guts through another one.
“He’s banged up right now and he’s fighting through this season, so hopefully we will be able to use him,” Gruden said. “But it is all on Trent and the trainers.”