Washington's Mitch Kupchak, who was released from Sibley Memorial Hospital yesterday after almost two weeks of treatments, will find out within the next few days whether his back problems have improved sufficiently to allow him to start playing again.

"I will work out on Monday and if it doesn't hurt, I'll try it Tuesday and then Wednesday and, if I'm still okay, then I want to suit up Thursday," Kupchak said yesterday.

"If it hurts at all, I will stop and rest my back for the rest of the summer," he said, "I absolutely don't want an operation unless I need one to keep playing and to walk straight."

Kupchak has been bothered by back spasms since late March. Despite a series of tests in the hospital, he said doctors still aren't sure what is causing the problem.

"One test showed I had irregularities in my spine but they said that doesn't always mean anything," he said. "After the season, I'll have to have more tests."

Kupchak last played May 6 in Game 2 against San Antonio. He was in for six minutes, then hardly could walk afterward and checked into Sibley the next day. CAPTION: Picture, Mitch Kupchak