Venus Williams excited to play again

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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) -- Recovery never comes fast enough for Venus Williams.

The latest has been especially slow for the Williams, who plans to return this weekend in the Fed Cup matches against Belarus after a five-month layoff from competition.

Williams has been fighting an autoimmune disease that can cause fatigue and joint pain. She hasn't played a sanctioned match since the U.S. Open in August. She withdrew after the first round and was not ready to return last month for the Australian Open.

Williams practiced with the U.S. team Wednesday and says she's trying to keep her excitement in check as she prepares for the matches Saturday and Sunday.

Team captain Mary Joe Fernandez says she isn't sure yet who will play where in the U.S. lineup, which also includes Venus' younger sister Serena.

Belarus features new world No. 1 Victoria Azarenkain, who won the Australian Open last week.

The teams will play two singles matches Saturday and another two rounds of singles Sunday before the competition wraps up with doubles.