Alvin's future on hold

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Point guard Alvin Williams returned from knee surgery this year, after missing the entire 2004-05 campaign, confident that he'd see a lot of action this season.

Now, however, it appears as though Williams' wait will go on much longer.

The longest-serving Raptor was diagnosed with bone spurs in his right knee and hasn't played in 11 games. Last night, head coach Sam Mitchell suggested that it will be a while before Williams sees any action.

"I know he wants to play, but he has come such a long way from his (microfracture) surgery that I worry about him taking a step backwards by coming back too early," Mitchell said.

Eventually, Williams will undergo surgery to remove the bone spurs. That may happen sooner, rather than later.

NO BERTH FOR

Raptors TV commentator Leo Rautins, who is also head coach of the Canadian men's basketball team, was disappointed that Canada was not granted a wild card into next summer's FIBA world championships in Japan.

"We put in a pretty good application. I thought we had pretty good opportunity to get one," Rautins said yesterday, from the Bay Area, where he was working the Raptors-Golden State game last night. "But, really, it was probably a long shot."

FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, announced yesterday that the four wild card invitations to the 2006 world championships in Japan next summer will be extended to Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, Italy and Puerto Rico.

Canada will compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifying tournament in the summer of 2007 and Rautins is hoping, although not desperate, to have NBAers Jamaal Magloire of the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers centre Samuel Dalembert on his roster, although he is not counting on that. It's doubtful that Steve Nash, last year's NBA MVP would compete for Canada at this stage of his career.

The teams representing FIBA Americas at the worlds will be Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, the United States, Panama and Puerto Rico.


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