Webber says he's willing to play in pain Bullets forward hopes to return tomorrow

March 11, 1997|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

BOWIE -- Even after missing eight of the past 12 games, Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber is still bothered by the strained lower back and right hip bursitis that have sidelined him for much of the past three weeks.

But, with his team struggling, Webber said it's time to get on the court and deal with the pain.

"I'm hoping to play Wednesday," Webber said. "I'm still feeling kind of tight. I think it will keep on irritating me. But I want to play."

So Webber is expecting to put on a uniform and play tomorrow, Webber when the Bullets (28-33) play host to the Vancouver Grizzlies. The Bullets have lost two straight, including Sunday to the Philadelphia 76ers. While Webber's return will not likely save the season for the Bullets, he said he will do all he can while the team mathematically has a chance.

"The only way I can tell whether I can do this is if I go through a game," Webber said.

Coach Bernie Bickerstaff said Webber's return is needed, as the Bullets have looked to the inexperienced Ashraf Amaya and Ben Wallace in his absence. The two have had their moments, but Bickerstaff realizes they cannot match the contributions of a player who is nearly averaging a double double (19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds).

"A guy like Juwan [Howard], maybe he's getting worn down," Bickerstaff said. "This is a situation where you miss a Webber."

Webber strained his back against the New York Knicks on Feb. 11 and suffered the bursitis in his right hip last week in Philadelphia. He said during his time off he has used ice, heat, electronic stimulation and stretching exercises in his attempt to feel loose and limber.

"It's a situation where if I sit in a place longer than 15 minutes, it starts hurting," Webber said. "If I keep moving, it's pretty good. If I sit still, it'll start acting up."

NOTES: Injured guard Tim Legler, who was hoping to rejoin the team within the week, missed yesterday's practice because his sister died of a heart attack. It is not known when Legler will rejoin the team. Washington players were ribbing Howard and Webber about Michigan's being snubbed by the NCAA tournament. "They just want the NIT to be a great tournament," Howard said.

Pub Date: 3/11/97

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