Eric put on hold

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Eric Williams' anticipated return to the court tonight may be put on hold.

The Raptors forward, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in the summer, tore some scar tissue during a hard workout Friday and didn't practise yesterday.

Williams, who arrived in training camp with a much-improved attitude after not showing his true colours last season, was planning on making his pre-season debut tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Columbus, Ohio.

"I had a little setback (Friday)," Williams, 33, said.

"Some scar tissue tore off the ligament (just to the side of his right knee) and it's a little sore right now. We're going to see how it feels in the morning and give it a shot."

Even if Williams can't go tonight, the 11th-year NBA veteran won't panic.

Tonight marks the beginning of a pre-season capping three-game road swing for the Raptors (2-3), who complete their exhibition schedule with two games against the Portland Trail Blazers -- tomorrow in Winnipeg and Wednesday in Portland.

While Williams wants to start developing chemistry with his new teammates, his primary focus is to be ready for the season opener Nov. 2.

"I know I've got to be patient at times, but I've still got that kid in me that wants to go out there and be on the court," said Williams, acquired in the Vince Carter deal with the New Jersey Nets last season.

Down the road, what transpired Friday might pay off for a guy who brings much-needed defence and rebounding to the table.

"Once I tore all that stuff off, I was kind of like, 'What the hell is going on?' " Williams said. "It's a good thing I tore it off now and not later on."

Meanwhile, fellow forward Matt Bonner, who missed a 93-83 win over the visiting Boston Celtics Friday, participated in some drills in practice yesterday and didn't rule out the possibility of playing tonight.

FIRST CUTS

The Raptors slashed their roster to 16 players yesterday by releasing veteran point guards Robert Pack and Tierre Brown and rookie forward Bryant Matthews.

Brown and Pack entered training camp believing they were battling rookie point guard Corey Williams, still with the team, for the third point guard job. But with Alvin Williams, who missed all of last season because of knee surgery, looking poised to play this season after returning to action for the past two games, Corey Williams' chances of sticking aren't great. GM Rob Babcock has said the team could bring in another player -- probably a centre released by another team -- for the final roster spot.


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