Mitch Kupchak, placed on the injured reserve list by the Bullets a week ago, plans to test his tender right heel in a workout Wednesday or Thursday. If it feels sound, he hopes to be back in uniform this weekend.
Kupchak missed the Bullets' four West Coast games last week, and must sit out one more since National Basketball Association rules require that a player on injured reserve miss a minimum of five games.
The 6-foot-10 center-forward has been bothered by an aching Achilles' tendon since Jan. 23. He returned to action prematurely in a game at Philadelphia on Feb. 11, aggravated the heel, and was put on the injured list before the Bullets traveled to San Diego last Tuesday.
"It feels pretty good right now, but I haven't done anything on it except ride an exercise bicycle. I haven't tried to run on it yet," Kupchak said yesterday.
"I'm going to work out Wednesday or Thursday and see how it feels. I'm anxious to play. But if it doesn't feel right, I'm not going to push it."
The Bullets are scheduled to open a five-game home stand at Capital Centre tonight against the Houston Rockets. If that game is played, Kupchak would be eligible to return Friday night against the Seattle SuperSonics. If tonight's game is postponed because of travel problems caused by the weekend snow, Kupchak would be eligible to return Sunday afternoon against the Golden State Warriors.
Bullet General Manager Bob Ferry said yesterday he was uncertain when Kupchak would be reactivated and who would be dropped from the roster to make room for him.
"I really don't know what we're going to do.I just got back from Los Angeles late Sunday night -- I must have been on the last plane that landed before snow closed the airport -- and I haven't talked yet to Mitch, the doctor or (coach) Dick (Motta)," Ferry said.
Kupchak received daily treatments last week -- heat, whirlpool, ultrasound and massage -- from a therapist Bill Neil at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore.
"About all you can do with an Achilles is give it time and stuff like that to speed up nature's processes," said Kupchak. "There's no drug or medication that can help it. I've been riding the bike, lifting weights, and doing exercises a couple of hours a day to keep my body toned."
He watched the Bullets' 105-94 victory at Seattle Sunday on television, and tried to keep his brain toned as well by figuring out his teammates' plays before they ran them.
"I was sitting in front of the TV seeing how quickly I could analyze what we were going to do on offense. just to keep the memory sharp," he said.
"When we ran a play, I wanted to make sure I knew in advance where everybody was going and what the options were. I usually don't do that. When I'm on the bench, I just sit back and enjoy the game. But I should analyze more. It's good mental exercise."