The boxing comeback of Joe Frazier has run into a bottleneck: viral hepatitis. Better for him at 34 if it were a blockage in the hourglass that drains so swiftly for an athlete of advancing years.
As it is, the once Smoking One has to set back his heavyweight bout earliest - more than two years since he hung 'em up after George Foreman put him away for the second time, June 1976.
Frazier entered the hospital in Philadelphia last week with what he thought was flu. Now that it's been diagnosed as hepatitis, his trainer-manager, Eddie Futch, says, 'With good care, he should be able to shake in a month. He'll need another month to get his strength back and another six weeks to train. So we'll be talking about 3 1/2 months, and that estimate is conservative" . . .
NBA player of the year, by Sporting News poll of the league's players: Bill Walton, 99 votes to 23 for runner-up George Gervin . . . NHL p. of y., by player ballot: Guy Lafleur, 120 votes to 79 for runner-up Bryan Trottier . . . Same voting, rookies of the year are Walter Davis in NBA, 139 to 16 over Marques Johnson, and Mike Bossy in NHL, 142 to 51 for Barry Beck . . . NASL player of week, per Professional Soccer Reporters Association: Diplomat goalie (0.00 GA) Bill Irwin . . .
Georgetown U. basketball awards banquet, set for Friday April 28. Marriott Twin Bridges, WRC-TV's Jim Vance as MC - and guest speaker: the man from UNC. Dean Smith. Reservations, 625-4016 . . . George Washington U. hall of fame inductees at Coloniels Inc. 20th annual sports awards dinner, Marvin Center on campus. Wednesday April 19: Mike Sommer, football halfback who was No. 1 Redskin pick in 1958, a regular on 1959 champion Colts, now a physician in Hagerstown, and Jay Randolph, the West Virginia senator's son who won the Southern Conference golf championship for GW in '57, now is in St. Louis TV and on NBC golf telecasts . . . And how about GWU's Drew (County) Ingram leading nation in initial NCAA Div. I base-ball stats with .577 through first seven games and Colonial mate Jimmy Goss fifth at .484 . . . Now that you've seen Performance Indexes, etc. on the NBA, once more it's left to FanFare to pronounce the captor of its annual Filch on Ear Award (as in pilfer an ear of corn without rustling the stalk. and Phil Chenier used to be excellent at it): surprise, barring a final-week turnaround we're not aware of, it's not Don Buse of Phoenix this time but Washington's own Eddie Jordan of the Jersey Nets. Buse and Jordan were the only NBA players who made more steals than they committed personal fouls, and Nordan had 1.33 thefts per foul to 1.28 for Buse . . .
You'll see John Harlock again NBA fans - a lot. Starting Sunday, he's a CBS playoff commentator (for openers, Bucks-Suns) . . . End of noble experiement by Earl Weaver to beef up Oriole attack, after Milwaukee massacre he scrubbed the Eddie Murray, 3b - Doug DeCines, 2b alignment in favor of Murray, 1b - DeCinces, 3b . . . What, Rod Carew cooled off by long winter and contract dispute? No way - after five Twin games he was batting. 458 (11 for 24); slumped, though to .392 when he went hitless at Anaheim Monday night . . . Mickey Mantle Jr. lost his luggage in flight from Florida to try out for Alexandria Dukes at Simpson (Little League) Field but limbered up in borrowed T-shirt and glove yesterday, will be given a full shot today . . . Whatever happened to the area's other pro diamond club, softball's Baltimore Monuments? "The bad weather really put us behind schedule. The field at Rips Stadium in Bowie has been resodded and this was late because of the weather." Owner Jim Ports still seeking a new manager, but has such favorites as Boom Boom Hutcherson, Johnny Dollar, John Copenhaver cranking up to belt those slow pitches into the next (Anne Arundel?) county . . .
Though Jerry Sloan went 0-1 as Chicago Bulls' interim coach, Dick Motta's Bullish guard of yore for now is front runner to succeed to Ed Badger's post. But Badger. off to U. of Cincinnati, advises bitterly, "Jerry shouldn't take it under present conditions: I had not authority." Owner Arthur Wirtz, releasing Badger from the year left on his contract, slapped back, "I don't appreciate his negotiating with another team while he's working for us. If another NBA club had been talking with him, that would be tampering and they'd be subject to a $250,000 fine"