Los Angeles Chargers rookie wide receiver Mike Williams denied on Saturday that he would require season-ending back surgery despite previous reports to the contrary.
On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com noted that season-ending surgery had been a possibility for Williams three to four weeks ago but "two sources with direct knowledge say it is NOT on the table now" and that Williams was showing improvement.
Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reported the same day that Williams "is likely to start camp on the physically unable to perform list following a second epidural on the herniated disk in his lower back," per Marc Sessler of NFL.com.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported during the week that surgery is still a possibility, however:
"The rookie wide receiver recently was given the epidural in a last-ditch effort to get him ready at some point during training camp, but sources said he is not expected to be available for the start of camp and there is concern he could need season-ending back surgery.
"Another source is optimistic that Williams will not need surgery and said Thursday afternoon, 'He's been coming along pretty well.'"
The injury was discovered after the team's first practice of rookie minicamp, though as Schefter reported, the Chargers are unclear as to precisely when Williams suffered the injury.
Schefter added, "One source said it's possible it was injured at the combine and during his pro day but he did a good enough job masking it so that teams would not know and his draft stock would not be affected."
Were Williams to miss the entirety of the 2017 season, it would be a major disappointment for the Chargers after they made him the No. 7 overall pick in this year's NFL draft. He was expected to make an instant impact in the team's offense and pair with the talented but oft-injured Keenan Allen at wideout.
Given the latest reports and Williams' comments Saturday, however, it would appear season-ending surgery is no longer the most likely scenario.