A year ago in Bend, LaMone Williams found himself stretched out on a trainer’s table, ice on his left knee.
Williams shouted in pain and frustration. He knew after working and practicing alongside his Oregon State teammates, he would be watching the season from the sidelines.
The knee had given out during a drill at Summit High School. Williams, a defensive end, planted awkwardly while being blocked by an offensive lineman.
The physician took a look and said there was a 90 percent chance it was a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“Before the MRI, he could tell. Movement and the swelling already. So right there within 30 minutes I already knew it was my ACL,” Williams recalled in late July, prior to fall camp.
“The pain was there, but most of the time I was just thinking about the team and how I couldn’t contribute on my part. Because I felt like going through offseason, I worked that hard and then that disappointment and hurt.”
It turned out that Williams had damaged his ACL and medial collateral ligament.
Going through surgery was nerve-wracking for Williams, but the OSU training staff helped him prepare.
“Coming out of surgery it was really rough. It was my first major injury, first knee injury, so it was pretty tough,” he said.
“It was good being comfortable pre-surgery, post-surgery. I felt confident in the staff that was helping me out to bring me back today.”
Instead of a season on the field, Williams was facing months of rehabilitation.
A three-star recruit out of Kahuku, Hawaii, Williams was the state’s No. 2 recruit in the 2014 class according to Rivals.com. He was recruited by Colorado, Hawaii, Utah and Washington State, as well as Chad Kauha’aha’a, the Beavers’ current associate head coach and defensive line/outside linebackers coach, while he was at Wisconsin.
He played in eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2015, so his college career had just begun before the setback.
Ask he strengthened the knee, Williams made sure he did what he could to stay sharp physically. Once he was back on his feet, he gradually gained back his speed.
He also tried to stay in the defensive line playbook.
“Football-wise my coaches really pound in the technique and the fundamentals of the football game,” Williams said. “Fundamentally, yeah, I was working, but most of the time I was in the book getting ready for the season, getting…