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abw0004

Inside Tre Williams' injury rehab, role with Tigers

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The day before Auburn's game against LSU, Tre' Williams arrived at the Tigers' team building barely after 5 a.m.

With it still dark outside, and with the building mostly empty, the former Auburn standout linebacker went through a training session that started with speed work and ended with an upper body workout.

Then, it was time for work and time to get back to helping the Tigers in his current role.

From 8 a.m. until late that night, Williams broke down film of recruits, met with Auburn coaches to go over prospects and eventually hosted a recruit taking his official visit that weekend.

That's life for the 2017 preseason All-SEC selection right now, juggling the responsibilities that come along with his role on the Tigers' staff while also getting ready to get back to playing and continuing to rehab from a neck injury that was more serious than most realize.

"He's working a whole lot," said Williams' mom, Charleste McMillian, "but he's happy."

It wasn't until surgery that Williams and his family found out the true extent of his injury, the one he originally suffered while making a tackle on the opening kickoff of the second half during the Tigers' week two game against Clemson last season.

MRIs and X-rays didn't show any significant damage, so Williams kept trying to play and only missed three games. By doing so, though, the injury became worse.

What started off as stingers progressed to a bulging disc in his neck and eventually became a herniated disc.

Still, nothing was showing up on MRIs or X-rays. So Williams played in the Senior Bowl and planned to sign with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent before that fell through because of the team having concerns about his injury.

Finally, after failing a physical with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and after further evaluation of his neck, Williams decided to undergo neck fusion surgery in May even though at least some doctors were still clearing him to play.

The surgeon told Williams and his family afterward that the damage was worse than even he had realized.

According to the doctor, Williams had been at serious risk of a hit that could have ended his football career. Or worse.

"He was a couple centimeters away from never being able to play football again," McMillian said.

While Williams' agent, Michael Perrett, expects Williams to sign an NFL futures contract this winter, the Mobile native won't be cleared for full contact until next summer.

The neck will no longer be an issue, though. The procedure is the same one that New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa underwent last August. Enunwa is now back with the Jets and has started all five of their games this season.

"You fuse one disc, you fuse two discs or you fuse three discs, and it's kind of like red light, yellow light and green light," Perrett said. "Doctors said, 'If you fuse one disc, you're good to go. You're cleared to play football. You're good to resume all normal activities. If you fuse three discs, I'm telling my patients, don't go skiing. Be careful. And if you fuse two discs, you can still play football but you need to be careful and monitor it and teams probably won't pass you on a physical.' But with us, they just fused the one disc."

Williams had been concerned about this fall, though.

He didn't have a job and realized he wasn't going to be able to get back to playing football until at least next year. But Auburn came through for him.

Aware of Williams' situation, head athletic trainer Robbie Stewart and head coach Gus Malzahn told McMillian that they'd have a role for Williams this fall if he was interested.

She told him about that the day of his surgery -- and he joined the Tigers in a recruiting role earlier this fall.

So, for now, most of Williams' week is spent cutting up film, breaking down recruits while also -- like that LSU weekend -- helping to host on-campus visitors and trying to sell them on joining Auburn.

"Auburn has done a lot and really stepped up to the plate big-time," McMillian said.

Like Perrett, though, Malzahn has said that he expects Williams to be on an NFL roster in the near future.

At least one team reached out to Williams during the summer about potentially signing him, but they were unaware of the surgery. At least six or seven other teams have told Perrett to keep them posted on Williams' progress while expressing interest in potentially signing him at some point down the road.

So, while taking care of those day-to-day responsibilities in the recruiting office, Williams also continues to get his body back into playing shape.

While he still can't do certain exercises like back squat because of not being able to put the barbell on his neck, Williams is back to running, recently got 250 pounds for double-digit reps on the bench press and is back to consistently training.

Even if it takes being in there at 5 a.m.

"The doctor told us that once he's healed, he'll be able to hit harder than ever and I said, 'Please don't tell him that,'" McMillian said, laughing. "But he also said that this is something that he can never hurt again because of the way they (did the surgery). He said (that part of his neck) can never be hurt again. So he'll get his opportunity. It's coming."

Edited by abw0004
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Wow. That’s pretty nuts that he played almost a full season with his neck like that. 

 

Anyone know now if there are any current nfl players that are successfully playing with that type of injury/surgery? Pretty sure Peyton Manning had it but he was a qb and was absolutely protected and rarely took a hit.

 

wish the kid the best but it sounds like he may want to consider putting down the pads and picking up the whistle. Sounds like he could have an analysist role if he wanted it

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36 minutes ago, Gene Loblaw said:

Wow. That’s pretty nuts that he played almost a full season with his neck like that. 

 

Anyone know now if there are any current nfl players that are successfully playing with that type of injury/surgery? Pretty sure Peyton Manning had it but he was a qb and was absolutely protected and rarely took a hit.

 

wish the kid the best but it sounds like he may want to consider putting down the pads and picking up the whistle. Sounds like he could have an analysist role if he wanted it

From the article:

The procedure is the same one that New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa underwent last August. Enunwa is now back with the Jets and has started all five of their games this season.

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4 hours ago, abw0004 said:

The day before Auburn's game against LSU, Tre' Williams arrived at the Tigers' team building barely after 5 a.m.

With it still dark outside, and with the building mostly empty, the former Auburn standout linebacker went through a training session that started with speed work and ended with an upper body workout.

Then, it was time for work and time to get back to helping the Tigers in his current role.

From 8 a.m. until late that night, Williams broke down film of recruits, met with Auburn coaches to go over prospects and eventually hosted a recruit taking his official visit that weekend.

That's life for the 2017 preseason All-SEC selection right now, juggling the responsibilities that come along with his role on the Tigers' staff while also getting ready to get back to playing and continuing to rehab from a neck injury that was more serious than most realize.

"He's working a whole lot," said Williams' mom, Charleste McMillian, "but he's happy."

It wasn't until surgery that Williams and his family found out the true extent of his injury, the one he originally suffered while making a tackle on the opening kickoff of the second half during the Tigers' week two game against Clemson last season.

MRIs and X-rays didn't show any significant damage, so Williams kept trying to play and only missed three games. By doing so, though, the injury became worse.

What started off as stingers progressed to a bulging disc in his neck and eventually became a herniated disc.

Still, nothing was showing up on MRIs or X-rays. So Williams played in the Senior Bowl and planned to sign with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent before that fell through because of the team having concerns about his injury.

Finally, after failing a physical with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and after further evaluation of his neck, Williams decided to undergo neck fusion surgery in May even though at least some doctors were still clearing him to play.

The surgeon told Williams and his family afterward that the damage was worse than even he had realized.

According to the doctor, Williams had been at serious risk of a hit that could have ended his football career. Or worse.

"He was a couple centimeters away from never being able to play football again," McMillian said.

While Williams' agent, Michael Perrett, expects Williams to sign an NFL futures contract this winter, the Mobile native won't be cleared for full contact until next summer.

The neck will no longer be an issue, though. The procedure is the same one that New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa underwent last August. Enunwa is now back with the Jets and has started all five of their games this season.

"You fuse one disc, you fuse two discs or you fuse three discs, and it's kind of like red light, yellow light and green light," Perrett said. "Doctors said, 'If you fuse one disc, you're good to go. You're cleared to play football. You're good to resume all normal activities. If you fuse three discs, I'm telling my patients, don't go skiing. Be careful. And if you fuse two discs, you can still play football but you need to be careful and monitor it and teams probably won't pass you on a physical.' But with us, they just fused the one disc."

Williams had been concerned about this fall, though.

He didn't have a job and realized he wasn't going to be able to get back to playing football until at least next year. But Auburn came through for him.

Aware of Williams' situation, head athletic trainer Robbie Stewart and head coach Gus Malzahn told McMillian that they'd have a role for Williams this fall if he was interested.

She told him about that the day of his surgery -- and he joined the Tigers in a recruiting role earlier this fall.

So, for now, most of Williams' week is spent cutting up film, breaking down recruits while also -- like that LSU weekend -- helping to host on-campus visitors and trying to sell them on joining Auburn.

"Auburn has done a lot and really stepped up to the plate big-time," McMillian said.

Like Perrett, though, Malzahn has said that he expects Williams to be on an NFL roster in the near future.

At least one team reached out to Williams during the summer about potentially signing him, but they were unaware of the surgery. At least six or seven other teams have told Perrett to keep them posted on Williams' progress while expressing interest in potentially signing him at some point down the road.

So, while taking care of those day-to-day responsibilities in the recruiting office, Williams also continues to get his body back into playing shape.

While he still can't do certain exercises like back squat because of not being able to put the barbell on his neck, Williams is back to running, recently got 250 pounds for double-digit reps on the bench press and is back to consistently training.

Even if it takes being in there at 5 a.m.

"The doctor told us that once he's healed, he'll be able to hit harder than ever and I said, 'Please don't tell him that,'" McMillian said, laughing. "But he also said that this is something that he can never hurt again because of the way they (did the surgery). He said (that part of his neck) can never be hurt again. So he'll get his opportunity. It's coming."

this is why i never diss players. and no sir i am not pointing fingers at you so we are clear. and two thumbs up for auburn stepping up and having williams back.

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I know Tre' and his family personally. Great great great bunch of people. These NFL teams need to come through and reward him for his patience and hard work and make sure he gets his opportunity to show what he can do. While I'd love to keep him on the staff here at Auburn, he needs to go live his dream while he can!

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Kid gave all he had and damn if it didn’t almost kill him! This determination will pay off one way or another. War Eagle. 

Glad to hear the Dr said he couldn’t re injure the same disk. Iow he’s as good as new. 

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