Williams is Super

Raptors' Alvin Williams' comeback is slowly progressing, as he has started walking on his own....

Raptors' Alvin Williams' comeback is slowly progressing, as he has started walking on his own. (Toronto Sun File/Veornica Henri)

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

It can't be mere coincidence that Alvin Williams got rid of his crutches on the same Sunday his beloved Philadelphia Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time in 24 years.

Williams can walk! The Eagles can fly!

There was Williams yesterday, gingerly taking a few casual shots at the basket following Raptors practice. The veteran guard and native of Philly still was wearing a bulky brace on his surgically repaired right knee, but after two months of hobbling around on crutches, he felt free.

"I feel like I'm worth something again," Williams said, grinning from ear to ear.

It was hard to tell if Williams' smile had more to do with the progress his knee has made or the progress his Eagles have made. Call it a win-win situation.

GOOD GAME

"The Super Bowl is going to be a good game," Williams insisted, despite the fact the New England Patriots opened as 6 1/2-point favourites. "The Eagles are going to give the Patriots a run for their money.

"I can imagine they're going crazy back home," added Williams, who ruffled feathers within Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. a few years back when he proudly wore a Philadelphia Flyers cap during a Maple Leafs-Flyers NHL playoff series. "Hopefully those guys (Eagles) can win and bring the city of Philly some happiness. It has been a long time coming."

Speaking of things that have been a long time coming, Williams hopes he finally has turned the corner as far as his health is concerned.

He isn't going to play this season, his knee injury being far more serious than the ankle injury which befell Eagles receiver Terrell Owens, who may return for the Super Bowl. But Williams said indications are he'll be ready to go at the beginning of next season, and he insisted any rumours suggesting he may be forced to retire are dramatically premature.

"I never heard that -- you heard it, I never heard it," said Williams, balking at the very utterance of the word retirement. "That would have to come from myself and my own feelings.

"The end of your career is something you're taught to think about, even before you start, because nothing is guaranteed. But this is something I love to do and I still have the passion for it.

"Is there doubt in my mind (about playing next season)? No, there's no doubt."

There also is no doubt in Williams' mind that he needs to be around his teammates, to keep his spirits up.

"It means everything to me -- I'm not sure what it means to the team," Williams said. "Sometimes I may get on their nerves cracking jokes or whatever. But I want to be part of the team and they accept me as part of the team. I don't feel complete not being here."

Raptors guard Jalen Rose said Williams is a beloved figure in the locker room, despite his tendency to be comically blunt.

"Alvin has knowledge of the game and he rides you when you make a bad play," Rose said. "You can go 10-for-11 and that one shot you missed, Alvin is going to ride you about it. But that's a good thing about having him around. He's honest."

PATIENCE

Williams isn't scheduled even to attempt running again for at least two more months. But he understands the need for patience and prudence.

The fire still burns within Alvin Williams. He always will be a Raptor, even though he sometimes catches himself bleeding Eagles green.

"I think we can win," Williams said, referring to the Super Bowl.

"Uh, I mean, I think the Eagles can win."


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