"I feel good," Hilliard said. "Most of the swelling has gone down. It still hurts. It's uncomfortable to sleep. You feel things move that you're unfamiliar with. You don't want to disrupt anything. It will be tough sleeping for the next three or four months, but I'll make it."
Hilliard has no doubt he'll be ready to play in 2003.
"I'll be back," he said. "I'll just have to play smarter than the opposing player or team. If you're tired, you have to go out and get yourself mentally ready to work harder to make a play. If you're hurt, you have to be okay to overcome the physical part that's lacking. I'll be fine. I'll be back. I'll be ready to play football next year."