Ballet superstar Natalia Makarova is convalescing in Palm Springs, Calif., after being klonked Dec. 18 by a falling metal pipe--part of a piece of scenery--while performing in "On Your Toes" at the Kennedy Center. "Everyone hopes she will fully recover from this," said her attorney, Michael Klein, of Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. "We will not know until she comes out of the body cast." and has a chance to exercise. Makarova's shoulder was broken near the point where the shoulder blade connects with the joint. "The concern is either that a bone fragment can get into the joint if it shattered, or that it heals in a way that she has limited mobility of that arm at the joint. That is something no one will know for a matter of months," Klein said.

Meanwhile, there is great consternation at the Kennedy Center because, as one source said, if Makarova's injuries are permanent, "You're talking about some extraordinary potential liability . . . It could be zillions or she could be terribly reasonable. It could very well be settled out-of-court." The center is maintained by the U.S. Park Service and, even though its artistic programs are run by an independent board of trustees, the center's officers are fervently hoping the Justice Department will handle the defense if Makarova sues. If Justice decides not to, the center has backup insurance. The insurance company is conducting an investigation of the incident. If Makarova sues for megabucks, according to the source, the center will probably sue others who may or may not have had a part in the incident. Klein offered this reassurance: "We haven't been retained to go and file a multibillion dollar lawsuit. We're here to protect the evidence in the event that she doesn't heal completely. She's a national treasure. If she comes out of this whole . . .,you're talking about doctor's bills and some payment," presumably for lost time and income.