NEW YORK -- The Washington Bullets, who already have lost all five of their starters to injury for at least several games this season, received more discouraging news yesterday, when general manager John Nash estimated that neither Bernard King nor Mark Alarie would return to action until after the All-Star Game Feb. 9.
King and Alarie started the season on the injured list after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery last September. The two veteran forwards have experienced pain when trying to run, delaying their rehabilitation.
King, who turned 35 Friday, spoke to Nash a week ago and informed him that he could not run without discomfort in his right knee.
"Usually, arthroscopic surgery is considered a minor operation, and we might have expected King back by now," said Nash. "He had an operation on the same knee when he was playing at the University of Tennessee.
"But King's surgeon [Dr. Norman Scott of New York] reminded me that we're dealing now with a knee of a 35-year-old, not a 25-year-old college kid."
The news from Alarie was better, but not much.
"Alarie told me he is making some improvement, but still can't really put a lot of weight on his knee," said Nash.
The third -- and last -- spot on injured reserve is occupied by No. 1 draft pick LaBradford Smith, whose sprained ankle has restricted him to five minutes of action.