Williams done for the season

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

The Raptors were dealt a huge blow yesterday, losing veteran point guard Alvin Williams for the rest of the season because of knee surgery.

Williams will undergo microfracture surgery to repair a chronically sore right knee today. The operation will be performed by Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Colo.

"Disappointed," Williams said yesterday prior to his team's dramatic 96-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs. "Very disappointing."

Williams, the longest-serving Raptor, has spent most of the season having his knee examined by various specialists around North America.

Prior to visiting Steadman twice this fall, Williams was examined by Toronto orthopedic surgeon Dr. Paul Marks and also by Dr. Tom Minus in Boston.

Williams was able to play in only 56 games last season because of knee and ankle injuries.

Whether it was last year or in any previous games in any season, Williams left everything out on the floor and ranks with Charles Oakley as the most mentally tough players in Raptors history.

When the 6-foot-5 combo guard returns is anyone's guess.

"You never like to see anybody have to have surgery, especially a quality guy like Alvin," Raptors GM Rob Babcock said.

"He's just a good basketball player and we really miss his leadership, his toughness and his experience.

"But it's part of the game, I guess," Babcock added.

THINKING LONG-TERM

"We have investigated all the possibilities and this is the best course of action. Its unfortunate that we're losing Alvin, but we think it's for the best, long-term."

The Raptors knew in the off-season that Williams may miss extended stretches.

With that in mind and with the team wanting to play a more uptempo style, the club signed Rafer Alston, who has been one of the early-season surprise stories in the NBA.


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