The Washington Bullets got better news yesterday on Michael Adams, the team scoring leader and playmaker who injured his left hand Monday night against the Boston Celtics in Hartford, Conn.
An examination by team doctor Richard Grossman revealed that Adams had not broken any bones in his non-shooting hand, but had dislocated the middle finger. However, he was experiencing considerable swelling in the hand, and his prognosis for returning to action was listed as day-to-day.
Adams was hurt in a second-quarter collision with Celtics star Larry Bird.
"It's conceivable that he could play on our coming West Coast trip," said team publicist Matt Williams, citing the Bullets' four-game swing against the Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle SuperSonics and Utah Jazz.
Adams will benefit by having three days off before the Bullets play again. If his finger responds to ice treatment and therapy, he could be in uniform against the Clippers on Friday night.
The veteran point guard, who ranks among the NBA leaders in scoring (24.7) and assists (8.3), showed his resilience only last week. He strained his right wrist and lower back in a collision with Seattle guard Ricky Pierce on Nov. 19 while driving for a layup.
The injuries sidelined him for only one game, a road trip to Milwaukee. Adams returned that Saturday night to score a game-high 30 points in a 226-115 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
One of the few positive developments of Monday's 121-108 loss to the Celtics was the play of Adams' back-up, Andre Turner, who has struggled since signing as a free agent the day before the season opener.
Turner, who has played for seven NBA teams in six years, looked tentative shooting the ball and running Unseld's motion offense. Before facing Boston, he had made only 12 of 40 shots (30 percent) and contributed 21 assists in 11 games. Against the Celtics, Turner had a season-high 10 points and 8 assists in 27 minutes.
Center Pervis Ellison also continued his impressive early-season work, contributing 30 points and 18 rebounds.
"We didn't have trouble scoring points," said Unseld, "but playing from behind, we sacrificed defense, and we couldn't stop them [the Celtics] from scoring."
NOTES: When the Bullets hold their final pre-Thanksgiving practice today, Unseld will also have to evaluate forward Tom Hammonds, who has missed the last four games with a hamstring pull. He would be eligible to come off the injured list against Portland on Sunday. Rookie guard LaBradford Smith, who has played a total of 5 minutes, still is listed as doubtful with a sore left ankle.