Alvin's back with Raps

Toronto Raptors veteran point guard Alvin Williams, who missed all of last season after undergoing...

Toronto Raptors veteran point guard Alvin Williams, who missed all of last season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee, is expected to suit up tonight. (Toronto Sun/Alex Urosevic)

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

Hey, Toronto.

According to the New York papers, Vince Carter misses you, has fond memories of you, loves coming up to visit you ... and so on and so forth.

Are you misty-eyed yet?

Carter and his New Jersey Nets visit the Air Canada Centre tonight for a pre-season match.

And while there still is a vibe when Carter returns to play against the team he quit on last year, the bigger vibe at Raptors practice yesterday was about the return of Alvin Williams, a guy who has never quit anything in his life.

The veteran point guard, who missed all of last season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee, is expected to suit up tonight for the first time since leaving a game against the Chicago Bulls on March 19, 2004.

That's huge news for the Raptors, who weren't expecting much from the nine-year NBAer this season.

In the expected absence of Williams, the Raptors were looking at Mike James and rookie Jose Calderon to carry the load at point guard. Suddenly, that all has changed.

Williams can hardly wait to get back on the floor and contribute to a team that is 0-3 and isn't expected to do much better come the regular season.

"I'm really excited," Williams said. "Just having the opportunity to be back on the court doing what I love and being part of a team again, this city and this country, is good for me."

And good for the Raptors, who have missed Williams' leadership.

The Philadelphia native acknowledged yesterday it will take some time to reach the level of play he displayed during the 2002-03 season, when he averaged 13.2 points and 5.3 assists.

"I'll find it," he said. "But not (today). I'll be so revved up to play, I'll probably pass out in two minutes."

Another Raptor almost ready to return to action is forward Eric Williams, one of the players traded to Toronto in the Carter swap last year.

Williams has yet to play in the pre-season because of a sore right knee, but expects to play in the Raptors' final three pre-season games starting on Sunday in Columbus against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Williams believes a win is crucial for morale purposes.

"Winning will always make everyone feel good, especially some of the younger guys who pretty much keep hearing the dog side of things when we look at film," Williams said.


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