Preston Williams was one of the brightest gems the Miami Dolphins revealed during the first year of their rebuild. Now, his first NFL season has come to an end.
Williams — who emerged as an undrafted rookie free agent to lead the Dolphins in receiving this season — suffered a left knee injury Sunday that ended his season, coach Brian Flores said on Monday.
“It’s a big loss for us,” Flores said. “I talked to him [Monday] morning. He’s done an incredible job. He came to us as a free agent and has really grown over the last six, seven months.
“I was devastated for the kid, and he was as well,” Flores added. “But I told him this is just a bump in the road. He’ll be back.” Williams suffered the injury, which is reportedly an anterior cruciate ligament tear, while returning a punt during the fourth quarter of Miami’s 28-16 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. He planted his left leg into the field to make a move before being taken down by a Jets player near the opposing sideline.
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He ended the game with five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns before limping over to the Dolphins sideline and being carted off the field with a towel draped over his head — in what may have been the most disappointing note in Miami’s first win of the season.
The Dolphins identified Williams as a player that could stretch the field and emerge as a No. 1 receiver in the midst of their rebuild.
His role expanded to handling punt return duties from Dolphins receiver and speedy return specialist Jakeem Grant.
Now, his rookie season will end with a lengthy rehabilitation process likely ahead of him.
Flores did not have a timetable for Williams’ potential return. “If he attacks his rehab and training like he did from the time he got here, he’ll be just fine,” Flores said.
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