Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld will be forced to perform another juggling act against the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight after starting center Pervis Ellison and shooting guard Rex Chapman did not accompany the team to Minneapolis.
Ellison, who missed Tuesday night's victory over the Boston Celtics with a sprained left knee, said yesterday that he hopes to return to action at home against the Utah Jazz tomorrow night. But the Bullets continue to list him as day-to-day.
Chapman, who left the Celtics game early in the second half with intense pain in his lower back, was examined yesterday by team doctor Steve Haas, who gave him a magnetic resonance imaging test. Results will be known today. Both Chapman and Ellison will be re-examined before the Utah game to determine their condition.
Meanwhile, Unseld is expected to start Charles Jones at center. Replacing Chapman is more of a problem.
With second-year guard LaBradford Smith already on the injured list with a sprained ankle, Washington is left with three undersized guards -- veteran playmaker Michael Adams and rookies Doug Overton and Brent Price.
Unseld was pondering shifting small forward Buck Johnson to the backcourt to defend the Wolves' 6-foot-6 Doug West. Forward Harvey Grant is another possibility.
Smith practiced yesterday and is expected to rejoin the team in Boston on Wednesday night. That will force the Bullets to make another roster move to keep Overton active.
Opponent: Minnesota Timberwolves
Site: Target Center, Minneapolis
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)
Outlook: The Bullets, coming off a 101-97 victory over Boston, will be without two starters -- center Pervis Ellison (sprained knee) and shooting guard Rex Chapman (back spasms). Coach Wes Unseld may shift small forward Buck Johnson to backcourt against the Wolves. Rookie Doug Overton, who had 11 points in fourth quarter against Celtics, will also get look. Minnesota has had major face lift, adding via trades forwards Chuck Person and Brad Sellers and guards Micheal Williams and Lance Blanks and drafting forward Christian Laettner.