All's well with Williamses

Superstar Toronto Argonauts running back Ricky Williams participated in full practice Wednesday...

Superstar Toronto Argonauts running back Ricky Williams participated in full practice Wednesday with speculation that he will start this weekend against the Stampeders in Calgary. (Toronto Sun/Fred Thornhill)

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

Professional sports teams in Toronto may not have had the greatest success in recent years, but they do lead the world in something -- guys named Williams.

Last season, the Raptors had three -- Aaron, Alvin and Eric, none of whom are still with the organization.

The Argonauts, this year, also have three Williams on the roster, John, Bernard and Ricky. And the good news for head coach Michael (Pinball) Clemons is, all three are in town and are ready to play.

Running back Ricky Williams, the ex-Miami Dolphins star, broke his forearm on July 22 in Regina and later damaged his heel, but has been practising all week and is expected to start against the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday night.

Offensive lineman Bernard Williams also is back with the team, after taking the past couple of weeks to deal with a sexual assault charge against him. He also is expected to start against the 8-5 Stamps.

And, of course, backup running back John Williams has been ready all season and should also be in the lineup Saturday.

GETTING HEALTHY

In any event, the news in Argoland is good as far as the injury front is concerned. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that the Argos went on a 5-0 tear, only to have whatever momentum they attained come to a screeching halt last week with the annual two-week break in the schedule between games.

And while coach Clemons and many of the players agreed that momentum is a wonderful thing, nobody on the squad regrets the break coming when it did.

"Fortunately for us, we're a veteran group and things like that don't really enter into the picture," veteran safety Orlondo Steinauer said yesterday. "Teams are banged up all year, everybody plays hurt every week ... from that standpoint, yeah, it's nice to let yourself heal. But as far as a psychological edge or disadvantage, it doesn't really matter.

"I think physically, the break came at a great time for us," Clemons added. "We lost (linebacker) Kevin Eiben the week before, we have two running backs who have been ailing for quite some time, we had a couple of defensive backs that are banged and really benefitted from the extra time. And physically we had a tired group as well, so we got a chance to recharge a little bit."

The Argos haven't had great success in recent years coming off the break, and this Saturday's game against the Stampeders, in Calgary, will be a huge test. The Stamps have won four consecutive games at home and are 6-1 this season at the friendly confines of McMahon Stadium. The Argos are 4-3 on the road.

Clemons is breaking down the next two games -- back to back against the Stamps -- as one block, sort of the way he did the previous five against teams from the East.

"We have to understand going in that we're going to have to play better football, probably our best football of the year in order to win these games," Clemons said. "We'll take this next group of games together and try to get ourselves into the playoffs. And if we're successful at that, we'll try to position ourselves to get a greater pole position, if you will, for the playoffs. This will be a good gauge of where we are."

Clemons confirmed yesterday that Canadian defensive back Noah Cantor will join the team in Calgary tomorrow and will suit up against the Stampeders. There was some speculation that Cantor, who is Jewish, would miss Saturday's game because if falls on Rosh Hashanah.


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