TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 26, 2005) -- Carnell "Cadillac" Williams practiced Oct. 26 and was optimistic about the prospect of returning from a foot sprain when Tampa Bay faces San Francisco.
The rookie running back has missed the past two games after injuring his left arch against Buffalo on Sept. 18. He carried the ball 37 times to key a win over Green Bay the following week, but has been hobbled since.
"The progress has been slow. I never thought it would be like this, where I'd be missing two or three games," Williams said. "I've been out a couple of weeks now, and it's still been giving me trouble."
The first player to begin his NFL career with three consecutive 100-yard performances has not played since the third quarter of Tampa Bay's victory over Detroit on Oct. 2. He sat out games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, and the Bucs (5-1) had a bye last week.
The Oct. 26 injury report listed Williams as questionable to play against the 49ers, however coach Jon Gruden was encouraged by what he saw in practice.
"We expect him to play, to be honest with you, but I can't say any more than that," Gruden said. "We'll see how he feels (Thursday) and hopefully he feels better and can perform more and more as the week unfolds."
Williams rushed for 158 yards in Tampa Bay's 17-16 victory over Green Bay, and the fifth pick in the draft said he didn't regret taking on such a heavy workload after being injured the week before.
He was limited to 13 yards on 11 carries before leaving the Detroit game because of his foot and a sore hamstring.
Asked if he thought carrying 37 times at Green Bay was a factor in how long he's been out, the rookie responded: "Who knows? It could have and it couldn't. I don't regret getting the ball 37 times. I love to run the football, that what I love to do."