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Kyle Williams Surgery: Could Pro Bowl Impact Recovery Time?

Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams is reportedly going to have Achilles surgery this off-season - and he's headed to the Pro Bowl anyway. Should fans be worried?

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams was added to the 2013 AFC Pro Bowl roster as a replacement for Haloti Ngata, whose Baltimore Ravens are headed to Super Bowl XLVII. Williams will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance despite reports of impending Achilles tendon surgery.

Those reports surfaced back on January 1, when spoke with Williams and pointed out the following facts about the foot injury that hampered Williams throughout the 2012 season:

  • The injury is in his right foot, and is the same injury that forced him to undergo season-ending surgery in 2011 (though it's a less severe form of the same injury)
  • Doctors will need to detach Williams' Achilles tendon, remove a bone spur rubbing against the tendon, and re-attach the tendon; the recovery timeline on the same surgery in 2011 was six months
  • Williams operated on a limited practice schedule for the last 12 weeks of the 2012 season
  • To deal with the injury on game days, team trainers cut the entire heel out of Williams' right cleat, then wrapped the back of his foot in tape to keep the cleat from slipping off during the day
  • Williams said at the time that a final determination on the procedure would be made "at the end of January or early February"

We're getting into "end of January" territory - the Pro Bowl will be played on January 27 - and not only has Williams not had his surgery yet, but he'll be putting the pads (and perhaps the heelless cleat) back on for another football game.

Granted: the level of intensity required to play in the Pro Bowl is decidedly lower than what you see even in regular season garbage time. If Williams is still planning on having surgery, however, one would think that playing another game would push back his recovery timeline - not to mention increase his odds of exacerbating the problem. There's no reason to believe that Williams won't be ready to go next summer because of playing the Pro Bowl, but the meaningless all-star game could cast some doubt on that one-time inevitability.