Adams reinjures finger in win, rejoins Bullets' busy infirmary

December 01, 1991|By Alan Goldstein The Los Angeles Times contributed to this article.

Don't blame Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld for feeling like a hospital supervisor without enough beds for his patients these days.

Michael Adams, the team's leading scorer and playmaker, reinjured the middle finger of his left hand in Friday night's 101-94 victory over the Clippers in Los Angeles. He flew home to Washington yesterday while the Bullets continue their four-game Western swing in Portland tonight.

It is unlikely that Adams -- who first dislocated the finger las Monday -- will be placed on the injury list, which requires a player to sit out a minimum of five games.

A team can have a maximum of three players on the injured lisat the same time. Two of the Bullets' spots are filled by forwards Bernard King and Mark Alarie, both of whom underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the off-season. Neither is expected back before January, if that soon.

Two other Bullets were left home to nurse their injuries -- forwar Tom Hammonds (groin) and rookie guard LaBradford Smith (ankle). Hammonds was eligible to come off the injured list tonight, having sat out five games after being sidelined Nov. 19.

The reserve forward, who was averaging a career-high 14 point in the first 10 games, seemed ready to rejoin the team following a scrimmage last Wednesday.

"I went home and it really tightened up. I could hardly walk, Hammonds said yesterday.

He is scheduled to be re-examined by team orthopedist Stev Haas tomorrow.

"If I'm better by then, I could still join the team for the games i Seattle [Tuesday] and Utah [Wednesday]," he said. "It's really been frustrating. I was just starting to get my game together. But a groin injury can really be a nagging problem. I've had it since the third game of the season, and it's gotten worse."

Smith, the No. 1 draft pick from Louisville, has played only five

minutes because of continuing problems with his left ankle, which he first sprained in a September pick-up game.

The inordinate number of injuries has left Unseld with 1 able-bodied players. In essence, he has used only eight. Recently acquired Ralph Sampson and Greg Foster have been restricted to the bench while a productive Pervis Ellison plays 40 or more minutes at center with Charles Jones giving him an occasional break.

With Adams and his 25 points-a-game missing, Unseld must

decide between Andre Turner or David Wingate as his floor boss. Turner is more effective at pushing the ball up the floor, but has not provided any offense of his own. Wingate, a strong defender, is averaging just under 10 points a game.

A.J. English has apparently settled in as the starting shooting

guard. He has shown more confidence the past two weeks and contributed 19 points in a 42-minute stint against the Clippers.

The Bullets outscored the Clippers, 32-22, in the fourth quarter Friday. Rookie forward Larry Stewart scored 10 in the last period.

"It was worse this time, because we know this is a team w should have taken advantage of and won the game," the Clippers' Loy Vaught said.

Said Clippers coach Mike Schuler: "It's very, very disappointing and very frustrating. There is no reason to try and kid anybody.

This is a game we should have won."

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