COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers brass are cautiously optimistic first-round draft pick Mike Williams can avoid back surgery, but he likely will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list once the team opens training camp Sunday.
"He's been responding well," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. "The path, right now, is rehab and strengthening. That's good news, obviously."
Williams was diagnosed with a lower-back disk herniation that kept him out of offseason work after he suffered the injury on the first day of rookie minicamp at Chargers Park in San Diego in May.
However, the Clemson product recently received a second epidural shot and has responded positively.
The Chargers hope he can make it onto the field at some point during training camp so they can get him ready for the regular season.
Selected No. 7 overall by the Chargers in this year's draft, the big-bodied wide receiver gives the Chargers another impact player to affect the game on third down and in the red zone.
"He'll see our doctors this weekend and will get more of a timetable of where he is," Telesco said. "I think he's more trending towards not working early in camp, which is not a surprise. But we'll kind of take it from there."
Even though Williams has been unable to practice since suffering the injury early in offseason work, Telesco said he has talked to Williams and the rookie remains in good spirits.
"The one thing I talked to him about is mentally, if you're out here and not practicing, it's going to be hard on you," Telesco said. "But, he's young and I think he can handle it. He's said all the right things. We'll have a plan together as far as his rehab is concerned, and he's got to stay on top of the details. This is his job now."