Alvin bent on returning

Alvin Williams is working hard at returning to the Toronto Raptors this season. (Toronto Sun/Craig...

Alvin Williams is working hard at returning to the Toronto Raptors this season. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:47 AM ET

Raptors point guard Alvin Williams, who has the heart of a warrior but the knees of a battle-scarred aging athlete, hopes to make coach Sam Mitchell eat his words.

After yet another day of playing one-on-one against fellow point guards, the sweat-drenched Williams expressed belief he will return to action this season. Mitchell, however, feels otherwise.

"I can't see him playing with (34) games (left this season)," Mitchell said after practice yesterday. "It wouldn't make sense to throw him out there ... I don't see it, right now, this year."

Williams, who had the sixth surgery on his chronically sore right knee (a scope) on Dec. 6, doesn't buy into the theory that he would be better off waiting until next year to give his knee a shot. While he admits he feels more pain now than he did before the scope, the longest-serving Raptor doesn't see the team's poor record as something that should prevent him from going hard to play this season.

"This is what I do," said Williams, who claims he wins some one-on-one duels against Raptors point guards Mike James, Jose Calderon and Darrick Martin. "If the team's 0-81 and I could play the last game, I'm going to play. This is what I do, this is all I've ever done. This is what I've been working so hard to try to do. Regardless of the team's status, it's even more of a motivating factor if I could try to help the team win more games. I'm never going to pack it in.

"(Mitchell) really doesn't know. No one knows. The only thing I can do is keep having faith and just play ... If I feel I can play, I'm going to express that and hopefully I get the opportunity."

Williams, 31, has played just one game this season -- 10 minutes of garbage time on Nov. 5 -- after missing all of last season because of career-threatening microfracture surgery. The toughest part of the recovery, he said, is seeing how his knee responds the day after hard activity.

"I have played with pain for a long time," said Williams, who still can make tough drives and cuts on the practice court. "But it's not a measuring stick now because I just think it's going to be painful. I think the measuring stick is how I respond the next day."

Mitchell certainly is impressed with Williams' effort and would love to see him return to game action.

"Your heart goes out to him," he said. "You wish you had 14 guys on your team with his passion and his love for the game. I like Alvin being around. The fact you see Alvin come out here on one leg and doing what he does, these guys understand why he's doing it and it hopefully rubs off on some of these guys."


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