Bullets' Pack can feel it: return to lineup not far off Guard's nerve damage in right leg improving

February 21, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

BOWIE -- When the sensation finally started to come back to the right foot of Robert Pack, the injured Washington Bullets point guard was so happy that he began to run around the house.

"My mother was here and I had just finished eating some greens [on Saturday] and we were sitting there playing cards when I started feeling a sensation," Pack recalled. "I jumped. My [family] had to calm me down because I started running around."

Running is something that Pack has been unable to do since Jan. 8 when he suffered nerve damage in his right leg after banging knees with assistant coach Derrick Smith during a practice in Cleveland. Yesterday, Pack was running on the court for the first time since the injury, and hopes he can return in possibly three weeks. "It's feeling better," Pack said. "I did some straight ahead jogging and did some shooting on my own. It's not where it needs to be, I'm not jogging naturally. But I'm happy about the progress I've made."

Pack has been on the injured list since Jan. 11, and was averaging 18.1 points and 7.8 assists. At the time of the injury -- a damaged peroneal nerve in his right leg that caused his ankle to go numb -- doctors told him it could come around in a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

More than a month later, Pack is ready to get back on the court.

"It's been very hard," Pack said. "There are different things you're looking at, watching and feeling you can help the team."

Coach Jim Lynam is hoping that the Bullets are still in the playoff hunt when Pack returns.

"He brought this team an element or dimension we didn't have -- to push the ball up the court for easy baskets," Lynam said. "It's very possible we can see daylight in regard to his injury for the first time."

Pack said he's been impressed with the progress he's made from Saturday. "The doctors said once I got the feeling back it would heal at a rapid pace. It feels good."

Bullets tonight

Opponent: Charlotte Hornets

Site: Charlotte (N.C.) Coliseum

Time: 7:30

Radio: WWLG (1360 AM), WTEM (570 AM)

Outlook: This is the first of a home-and-home series against the Hornets, with Charlotte traveling to USAir Arena for Friday's game. The series is important because the Bullets are 2 1/2 games behind the Hornets, who own the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte has won three straight overall and four straight at home. F Glen Rice (23.1 ppg) and F Larry Johnson (21.3) lead the Hornets, who are 7-5 since acquiring Kenny Anderson (14.8 ppg, 8.9 apg). The Bullets have dropped seven of their last eight. G Brent Price has struggled over his past five (9.0 ppg, 3.8 apg).

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