Alvin eager to see action

Alvin Williams in a file photo. (SUN/Craig Robertson)

Alvin Williams in a file photo. (SUN/Craig Robertson)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Alvin Williams is like a country and western singer, in that he always is going to feel the pain.

That does not mean, however, that his days on the basketball court are numbered. To the contrary, Williams surprised a gathering of media hounds yesterday by predicting that he'll be ready to play on Nov. 2, when the Raptors open the regular season against the Washington Wizards. He even hopes to get into at least one pre-season game this month.

"I'm going to play, unless something (major) happens, if my knee blows up or it just gets worse," Williams said. "I have about a month (before the season opens). I just have to get my conditioning in, try to acclimate with the team and try to get the confidence of the coach."

Williams, 31, missed the 2004-05 season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee last Nov. 22, and there had been whispers that he may never be able to play again.

But the Philadelphia native, who has made a name for himself in Toronto by playing through all kinds of painful injuries in the past, has been working hard at training camp, although he has yet to play in serious scrimmages. But Williams said yesterday after practice that he is getting closer and closer to doing just that.

Anything Williams gives to the Raptors this season will be a bonus. Given the serious nature of his injury, the club is not banking on the veteran guard to be able to play significant minutes. But head coach Sam Mitchell has said numerous times that the door always is open and if Williams believes he can play, he'll certainly be given the chance.

Which makes the point guard scenario on this team all the more interesting. As it stands now, the starting point will be NBA veteran Mike James, who was traded to Toronto last Tuesday for Rafer Alston.

Free agent Jose Calderon has the backup spot to lose and general manager Rob Babcock brought in a small crew of experienced backcourt players -- Tierre Brown, Robert Pack and Corey Williams -- to contend for the No.3 spot.

With Alvin Williams possibly back in the mix for opening day, he could be the man sent into the game behind James or Calderon, although Mitchell said that he's not going to make any personnel decisions until the end of the month.

Alvin Williams, meanwhile, plans to keep working on his conditioning while being careful not to aggravate his knee.

"I watched Jason Kidd last year come and play five-minute spurts in a course of a game when he first came back (from a knee injury)," Williams said. "So I guess we'll have to develop some type of plan for me coming in. As far as the pain goes, I know I could go out there and play right now. I just have to get my endurance and conditioning up."


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