Four days ago, after their fourth straight victory, Washington Bullet spirits were soaring. Now, after a decisive loss Friday night to the 76ers, Coach Dick Motta is contemplating still another lineup change at guard and wondering about the status of Bob Dandridge.
Larry Wright practiced with the first unit yesterday and Motta said he probably will start in place of Kevin Grevey today when the Bullets face the Portland Trail Blazers at Capital Centre at 1 o'clock.
Dandridge missed the Philadelphia game after injuring his ankle Wednesday against the Lakers, He did not work out yesterday, got treatment and said he "felt better." Trainer John Lally said Dandridge has a "slight sprain in his left ankle."
A decision on whether he will play today will be made just before game time.
Some of Dandridge's teammates have implied that the injury may not be serious enough to have caused Dandridge to miss the 76er game. Some also have started to wonder if there is more to the problem than they know about.
Dandridge said his ankle is sore and he wouldn't play.
Motta said he doesn't question the injury but that Dandridge's absence Friday "really hurt us in Philadelphia."
Dandridge has missed 11 games this season with assorted injuries.
The Bullets are 0-4 against the 76ers and Dandridge missed two of the games.
He missed five straight games last month, but rejoined the Bullets when they went west Jan. 1. With Dandridge as the sixth man, they won four in a row going into the Philadelphia game and were one game below .500.
"If a guy says he's hurt, he's hurt," Motta said. "There has to be that trust and that bond. I know Bobby doesn't want us to lose. I have never questioned a guy's injury and I've always said to take an extra day if a guy needs it. I never thought it right that I should interfere where an injury is concerned. I don't think we can win without Bob Dandridge."
Wright has performed well while Grevey has faltered. Motta said yesterday that Wright deserves a chance.
Grevey played only 19 minutes in the 119-106 loss in Philadelphia Friday, making two of seven shots.
Grevey has shot only 33 percent in the last six games and has not been effective on defense.
Wright, as the third guard, has picked up the Bullet offense and, with him starting, Motta hopes to get off to a quick advantage against the Trail Blazers.
If Wright does start, he will be the fourth starter at shooting guard this season.
Grevey began the season as the starter, but was injured and replaced by Phil Chenier. Roger Phegley replaced Chenier and started until Grevey got well.
Wright started one game earlier this season as the playmaker, but he is most effective as the other guard.
Greg Ballard, who has started all 11 games Dandridge hasn't, played one of his best games against the 76ers, scoring a career-high 31 points. Included in that total were three three-point shots. Ballard added 10 rebounds and four assists.
But without Dandridge, the Bullets have no depth, and it showed against the 76ers.