Rex Chapman's debut as a Washington Bullet was put on hold again yesterday when the team doctor said the veteran guard obtained in a Feb. 19 trade with Charlotte, was suffering from tendinitis in his left Achilles.
Chapman, who had hoped to play in New York against the Knicks tonight, aggravated his Achilles' tendon while working out strenuously three times last weekend to test the sore left heel that has kept him sidelined since January.
Chapman and the Bullets were trying to determine whether the heel had recovered sufficiently to avoid corrective surgery.
"Our doctor [Steve Haas] was encouraged by the way the heel withstood three tough practices," said general manager John Nash, who is in Orlando this week scouting prospective NBA draft picks. "But it was a case of too much, too soon, and that caused the Achilles to flare up."
Nash said the two injuries are not related, and that there is still a possibility Chapman could play in one of the Bullets' remaining games against Orlando at home Thursday night or the season finale in Philadelphia Saturday night.
"Right now, we don't think Rex is going to require surgery," Nash said. "[Assistant coach] Jeff Bzdelik worked him out Saturday and Sunday and said Rex was moving well and even dunking the ball. We'll keep monitoring the situation, and Dr. Haas will re-examine him on Thursday."
Chapman, 24, had spent the previous two weeks in Kentucky getting therapy treatment from University of Louisville football doctor Raymond Shea. He also received a cortisone shot to relieve the soreness in his heel.
The Bullets, who must pay Chapman an average of $2 million over the next four years as part of his contract extension, want to make sure he is ready to play when next season begins.
Nash wants to avoid a repeat of this season when forwards Bernard King and Mark Alarie both underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in September and missed the entire year.
Bullets coach Wes Unseld has been short-handed all season. Tonight, he is expected to have only nine players available for the game with the Knicks. Two of his starters, center Pervis Ellison (groin pull) and forward Harvey Grant (sore shin) were not expected to play.