In a devastating blow to the Atlanta Falcons, running back and return specialist Avery Williams has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2023 season due to a torn ACL injury sustained during a recent practice session.
Head coach Arthur Smith confirmed the news, putting an end to Williams’ hopes of building upon his exceptional performance from last year.
Williams, who led the NFL in punt return average last season with over 16 yards per return, had been an integral part of the Falcons’ special teams unit. Known for his agility and explosive bursts, his absence will undoubtedly leave a void in the team’s overall game plan.
The injury occurred during the Falcons’ open practice at the renowned Mercedes-Benz Stadium last week, on a play that saw Drake London score a touchdown. Heartbreakingly, Williams’ injury was non-contact in nature, as he crumpled to the turf without any opposing player involvement.
Teammates and staff rushed to his aid, helping him off the field before escorting him directly to the locker room for further evaluation.
The torn ACL diagnosis was confirmed after subsequent medical tests, leaving Williams with no choice but to face a grueling rehabilitation process and a long road to recovery.
ACL injuries often require several months of rehabilitation before an athlete can return to competitive play, making it unlikely for Williams to see action on the field until the 2024 season.
The Falcons organization will now have to explore their options to fill the void left by Williams’ absence. The team’s depth chart will need adjustments to accommodate a new punt returner and determine the impact on other areas of the roster.