Matt & Mindi: The 49ers need to put pressure on Matt Ryan
Kyle Williams caught 14 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown this season before tearing his ACL in Week 12. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Programming note: Tune into 49ers Central tonight at 7pm for the latest on the 49ers leading up to Sunday’s NFC Championship in Atlanta, only on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA -- Kyle Williams went back to work almost immediately after the 49ers' loss in the NFC Championship Game a year ago, determined to earn a roster spot and contribute to a title run.
For the second straight season, Williams' season ended in disappointment on Nov. 25 when he sustained a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his left knee.
But just like a year ago, Williams does not allow himself to sulk or feel sorry for himself.
"I'm great," Williams said Tuesday. "I'm fine. This is football. You get injured. It's one of those things."
Williams has already proven he can rebound from adversity. His two turnovers on punt returns were pivotal miscues in the 49ers' 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in last year's NFC Championship Game.
Then, his spot on the 49ers' roster was challenged when the club signed veteran free-agent wide receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, and invested their top draft pick in A.J. Jenkins.
Williams not only won a roster spot, but was averaging around 25 snaps a game, third-most of any 49ers receiver at the time of his season-ending injury.
Williams has remained around the 49ers' facility for his rehab work. Now, he is relegated to the sideline, where he watches as the 49ers continue their quest to advance further than a year ago.
"It's tough watching, but just being there for the guys and have them come off to the sideline and have them asking what I'm seeing, and being able to contribute any way is good," Williams said.
And Williams said he felt a lot better about his own situation when he watched Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson return from a serious knee injury sustained late last season to lead the NFL with 2,097 yards rushing.
"When you see him going, it's easier because his injury was worse than a lot of people," Williams said. "You see him making a full recovery.
"Obviously, I'm not going to come back and be Adrian Peterson, he's one of the best in the league, but just to know that you can come back normal, and it's a normal procedure and a lot of people come back from it, it's motivation."
Williams said there should be a full recovery in six to nine months from his surgery. That should give him plenty of time to be healthy for the opening of training camp in late-July.
"The good thing is we don't have to rush anything," Williams said. "Six months will put me in May or June, so that gives us all kinds of time to get it ready, get it strengthened, and get back to normal -- maybe even better than normal," Williams said.
Running back Kendall Hunter, whose season also ended Nov. 25 with a torn left Achilles tendon, can also look around the NFL to another player who made a speedy and fully recovery.
Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs returned to action just five months and one week after undergoing surgery on a torn Achilles.
Hunter, who rushed for 371 yards and two touchdowns with a 5.2 average, will be back wearing a regular shoe to replace his orthopedic boot next week, he said.
Receiver Mario Manningham, who sustained a torn ACL and posterior cruciate ligament against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 23, is scheduled for surgery this week after just recently getting off crutches. The swelling in Manningham's knee had to subside before surgery could occur.