LANDOVER -- Washington Bullets center Pervis Ellison was involved in an auto accident early last night on the way from his home in Fort Washington to the Capital Centre for the game with the San Antonio Spurs.
He was taken by ambulance to Greater Southeast Washington Hospital for X-rays and observation after complaining of back and neck pains. A hospital official said, however, that Ellison appeared "alert and oriented."
Ellison, acquired by the Bullets from Sacramento in June 1990, was emerging as a dominant player this season, averaging 20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.71 blocks, all career highs.
The 6-foot-10 center missed four games earlier this month with a sore knee.
According to Bullets general manager John Nash, it appeared that Ellison was involved in a one-car accident. It is believed a car swerved in front of Ellison's car, forcing him off the road and into a ditch where he hit an embankment. Ellison reportedly then hit his head on the steering wheel. Hospital doctors at Greater Southeast Washington Hospital said they expected that Ellison would be released after having X-rays of his neck. He was reported in good condition, although suffering from a headache.
Earlier in the day, the team placed reserve forward Tom Hammonds on the injured list for the second time this season with a pulled groin muscle.
Replacing Hammonds on the 12-man roster will be rookie guard LaBradford Smith, of Louisville. He was placed on the injured list Dec. 6 with a sprained ankle. The Bullets' No. 1 draft pick has played only five minutes this season.
Hammonds, a three-year veteran, was enjoying his finest season, averaging 12.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 20 games. In his first two seasons, he averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds.
The former Georgia Tech All-American first injured his groin playing against New Jersey Nov. 9. He went on the injured list two days later, sitting out 10 games before returning to action Dec. 19.
Hammonds played in the last five games before suffering another groin pull Saturday night, trying to make a flying slam dunk against the Charlotte Hornets at the Baltimore Arena.
This season, the Bullets have lost a league-high 106 games to player injuries, not even counting forward John Williams, who is on a medical suspension for being overweight. Forwards Bernard King and Mark Alarie, who both underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in September, are not expected back before mid-February.