Bullet guard Phil Chenier said yesterday that he hasn't ruled out returning to the team this season. But he added that his ailing back had not improved enough to let him begin even light exercising.

"I don't know when I can play," he said. "There is still time left in the season. Getting in condition is not the problem. You can force that. But you have to be able to run first and I can't do that."

And he said he didn't know when he might begin working out. "I'm still getting opinions from doctors," he said. "I want to get a lot of opinions before I make up my mind what to do

"The last thing I want is an operation and I'm not going to have one until I'm convinced that's the only answer." Chenier has a degenerative disk in his lower back.

Chenier, who has not played since Jan. 10, said his back still hurts. "It's a little better but not that much. I'm not going to do anything that will make it worse. The team has 11 good players now and I think they can do okay without me."

Since undergoing a myelogram 10 days ago, Chenier had been suffering from severe headaches caused by the dye that was injected in his spine during the test. But he said that problem had cleared up.

Chenier attended the Bullets' game Wednesday night but had to leave because of the headache. However, he was able to sit through all of yesterday's game against Golden State.