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Williams gains, and not pounds, with Clippers


LA JOLLA, Calif. -- John Williams might not appear to be losing much of his considerable girth, but he is gaining on the basketball court.

Despite a sore left wrist that was heavily taped in practice yesterday, Williams continued to participate in full-court scrimmages.

Williams, acquired from the Washington Bullets several weeks ago, has been showing signs of his former basketball self even in limited duty at practice.

"You can see it in the way he passes and moves," coach Larry Brown said. "It's only a matter of time before he's ready, I think."

Brown said he is hopeful Williams will be in uniform this weekend for one of the Clippers' final three exhibition games at Dallas, San Antonio and in Reno, Nev. (vs. Golden State). But in Williams' brief but controversial career, hope isn't a new thing.

"I'm very anxious to get back on the court and to help this team," Williams said recently. "I can't do anything for this team until I can play."

Williams injured his knee 18 games into the 1989-90 season and has played fewer than 50 games since.

He will be cleared to play this weekend based on the results of a test to determine if the knee can withstand real game stresses.

The Clippers knew Williams, who turned 26 on Monday, would not contribute right away, but they knew if he could reclaim even a measure of his old form he could take the Clippers to another level.

"It would be amazing if he could come back and play," Brown said. "A lot of people didn't think he would ever play again. I hope they're all wrong."

Williams tried a comeback before with the Bullets, but Brown and others believe he means it this time.

"He's working hard, very hard," said point guard Mark Jackson. "I wouldn't bet against him. He's going to help us this year -- soon."

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