Washington Bullet forward Kevin Grevey, who suffered a scratched iris of his left eye Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers, is expected to be able to play against the Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon in Oakland at 4.45 p.m. (EST).
Grevey, who wears contact lenses, said today that he would put them in Sunday morning "and if it feels O.K. I can play. The doctor told me there was no reason it shouldn't be O.K. It just feels irritated today."
Grevey knows he needs to have sharp vision Sunday. He'll be assigned the task of trying to stop Rick Barry, who shot the Bullets' eyes out in the teams' last meeting. Barry scored 42 points in that game, hitting 17 of 35 shots against Grevey, Leonard Gray and everyone else the Bullets put on him.
Golden State has won two of three games between the teams this season. In the three games, Barry has averaged 29 points.
The Bullets will be out to break a two-game losing streak on this road swing. They've already lost to both Milwaukee and Los Angeles (94-91) to fall out of first place in the NBA Central Division. Houston led Washington by a half-game before the Rockets' contest tonight against New Orleans.
Grevey played just two minutes against the Lakers before being poked in the eye accidently by Cazzie Russell. Grevey was taken to a nearby Los Angeles hospital for examination. He returned during the final quarter and watched in street clothes with a patcah over his eye.
Gray played 31 minutes as Grevey's replacement and had a fine effort, scoring 18 points and pulling in nine rebounds.
His six-for-12 accuracy from the floor was a bonus for Washington on a night when the rest of the Bullets played as if they hadn't shot at a basket in months.
They wound up hitting only 37 per cent of their attempts but were fortunate that the Lakers weren't much better (40 per cent). A hot shooting night by Los Angeles and Washington might have been routed.
Instead, the Bullets had an opportunity to at least send the game into overtime. They had the ball with 27 seconds to go, trailing, 93-91. After a time out, Phil Chenier wound up being guarded one-on-one by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about 25 feet to the right of the basket.
Chenier couldn't shake the 7-foot-2 giant - "I wasn't happy being out there but I did the best I could," said Abdul-Jabbar - and when he tried to pass, Jabbar hit the ball. It rolled free to the Lakers' Earl Tatum, who passed to Don Chaney. Chaney was fouled and made a free throw to end Bullet hopes.
Coach Dick Motta couldn't believe the lethargic play of his team. "We've been playing so well," he said, "I guess we were due for a bad one. And this sure was a bad one."
Then he glanced again at the statistical sheet, which showed such nightmarish facts as Chenier making just four of 18 attempts and Elvin Hayes hitting only nine of 23.
Chenier had been going through one of his incredible streaks. Over the last three games he had shot 62 per cent. But Friday night, he missed all nine of his first-half tries and played a poor floor game.
Only in the third period, when Chenier had six points, did the Bullets show some life. They overcame a 10-point half-time deficit to take an eight-point lead late in the quarter and wound up outscoring the Lakers, 38-22.
But Abdul-Jabbar took command in the last period. He had 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots during that span, winding up with 31 points and 20 rebounds for the night.
There had been rumors that the game might be disrupted by demonstrators protesting the building takeover by the Hanafi Muslims in Washington, D.C., this week. Abdul-Jabbar has close ties with the Hanafi sect.
Although the demonstrations never occurred, the Lakers took no chances. Four plain clothesmen from the Inglewood Police Department served as bodyguards for Abdul-Jabbar, escorting him on and off the court. During the game, the Lakers' bench was surrounded by extra ushers.
Laker coach Jerry West marveled at Abdul-Jabbar's performance. "I'm sure it (the terrorists) caused some distractions for him," West said, "but he played extremely well."
Abdul-Jabbar, however, denied he was performing under any added burden. "I don't think it had any negative effect on me," he said. "I was concerned, just like everyone else, but it's over with now.
"They are events that happened beyond my realm of things. I watched it all the same way you did. I'm glad it's over."