Webber to see doctor in N.Y. Bullet faces surgery on shoulder

M. Price out at least 6 weeks

January 31, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

BOWIE -- His season seemingly over, Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber will be in New York today to see a shoulder specialist who could wind up performing surgery to repair his injured left shoulder.

While Webber is seeking further medical advice, point guard Mark Price will be having his injured left foot placed in a cast. The MRI of Price's foot revealed a cracked navicular bone and a partial tendon tear. Price suffered the injury in a Jan. 24 game at Charlotte.

His foot will remain in a cast for three weeks, and Price will be out a minimum of six weeks -- leaving the Bullets in search of short-term relief at point guard, with Robert Pack also out because of a damaged nerve in his right leg.

Webber's MRI test from Saturday showed no additional damage to the left shoulder that became separated for the second time Oct. 21 in a preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. But the third-year forward had experienced soreness since a fall Dec. 29 against the New York Knicks and, sensing that he will have problems the rest of the season, likely will have surgery so he can return for all of next season.

"He's kind of down," said Webber's agent, Fallasha Erwin. "This is the end of the season for him and it appears that he is always suffering some kind of setback. We get his contract done, he feels like he's in the swing of things and on his way to his best season. And this happens."

Webber was unable to participate in his initial training camp with the Golden State Warriors because of appendicitis, and missed the first two games of his career with a sprained ankle. But he did play in 76 games that season and won Rookie of the Year honors over the Orlando Magic's Anfernee Hardaway.

After being traded to the Bullets less than a month into last season, Webber suffered the first separation of the shoulder in December against his former team and played just 54 games.

This season, Webber has been limited to 15 of Washington's 42 games. He started the season on the injured list after the second separation during the preseason and, after missing the first 10 games, was activated Nov. 27.

When he has played, Webber has done so at a high level. He averaged 23.7 points and 7.6 rebounds and, one game before the injury against the Knicks, had the game of his career with his fifth career triple double (career-high 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) against the Warriors in a nationally televised game.

Erwin, speaking from his home in Detroit last night, will accompany Webber to New York. He did not name the shoulder specialist, but did say that he has had experience with professional athletes.

"If he has the surgery, he'll be in a sling for four weeks, then there will be another four weeks of rehabilitation, followed by eight to 10 weeks of weight training," said Erwin, who spent yesterday conferring with several specialists. "He should be strong and healthy by summertime, and he'll definitely be ready for training camp."

While Webber was upset with team doctors in the preseason when he was cleared to play just before the second shoulder separation -- despite complaining of soreness just days before -- Erwin said the team doctors will be involved in whatever is done.

"The doctor we're seeing [today] has a big-time reputation, and whatever is done will be done in conjunction with team doctors," Erwin said.

Price was down as well about his injury, which is unrelated to the surgery he had before the season on a tendon on the bottom of his foot. Price played in seven games, averaging 8.0 points and 2.6 assists.

"He's really feeling down," said his younger brother Brent. "He was looking forward to playing and didn't expect anything like this."

Neither did the Bullets, who are down to one true point guard. Until another point guard is signed, Mitchell Butler will back up Brent Price.

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