Alvin aims to make strong return

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:04 AM ET

Alvin Williams has a seemingly simple goal for this season.

"I want to practise in every practice and play in every game. That's my biggest thing," the Raptors point guard said.

Of course, that will be far easier said than done for the injury-plagued veteran, who missed all of last season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his chronically sore right knee. While Williams raised the eyebrows of some Raptors assistant coaches when they came to watch him work out after yet another surgery on his knee in May, it remains to be seen if he can handle the physical pounding he will endure in the NBA.

When asked if he has any idea what his knee will give him this season, the eighth-year pro said, "Not yet. As far as right now, I know I can play a little bit. I just want to know how an 82-game season (will go).

"I've just got to get it as strong as possible. I'll be able to play with the pain. I just want to make sure my leg is as strong as possible so the pain isn't as much as it has to be."

Williams, 31, who doesn't feel much pain in everyday life but feels some on the court, plans to give the knee a go when training camp opens today in St. Catharines. While the Raptors have said anything they get from Williams this season is a bonus, he apparently has made good progress.

"They (the assistant coaches) have seen what I can do and I'm sure I've done more than they'd think," Williams said.

"I think they just thought I was in a wheelchair in Philadelphia all day because when I did some of the things, they seemed pretty surprised. I can move around do some drills, some cutting, some jumping, some shooting. I'm pretty much ready to go."

Second-year Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is a member of Williams' fan club.

"I'm anxious for Alvin," Mitchell said. "I want things to work out for Alvin. It has been sad for me, never getting a chance to coach him. All the years I played against him and respected him, how smart a player he was, how good a player he was and how tough a player he was, I would really like to get a chance to coach him."

Williams, meanwhile, wasn't angry with the Raptors for pursuing other point guards this summer.

"It doesn't bother me," he said. "I never really pay attention to too much of it. Ever since I've been here, they've been looking for another guard."


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