A fit and eager John Williamson joined the Washington Bullets yesterday, but the excitement over his arrival was offset by the news that off-injured. Bob Dandridge is hurting again. Dandridge was not with the team when it left for Indianapolis and a seven-game road trip last night.
His injury has been diagnosed as a pulled calf muscle. He will receive daily treatment here and rejoin the team "when advised by the doctor," the Bullets said.
Dandridge is not expected to miss the entire trip, which will also take the Bullets to Milwaukee, Kansas City, Denver, San Diego, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The bullets hope he will be ready for Sunday's game against the Kings.
Williamson, acquired Monday from the New Jersey Nets along with a second-round draft choice for Roger Phegley, arrived yesterday morning and practiced with the team.
Coach Dick Motta liked what he saw of the 6-3 Williamson, but Dandridge's absence prevented him from being overjoyed.
"This has been one heck of a year so far," Motta said.
"We haven't had very many chances to develop any rhythm with this team, not since the first day of training camp. Something always seems to go wrong."
Williamson said reports that he didn't join the Bullets Tuesday because of an alleged contract problem aren't true.
"I'm not asking for a penny more," the 27-year-old Williamson said. "I'm just coming here to play. Everything is fine."
Williamson, whose $185,000-a-year contract runs through next season, did have contract problems with the Nets and that is one reason they unloaded him.
Williamson's thing is to score and that's what the Bullets need.
"I'll learn both guard spots, but I know that they want me primarily as a shooter," he said. "The Bullets have a lot of plays for the off guard and it's easy to get open coming off those picks that Wes (Unseld) and Elvin (Hayes) set. The thing is to come off the pick quick and drill the shot.
"If I have my shot I'm going to shoot it," said Williamson, who has a 22-point, three-year NBA career scoring average and is the Nets' all-time leading scorer. "But I'm not coming here just to try and score 20 points a game. I'm here to help this team win. If my shot isn't there, I'll kick it back inside to the big guys."
Williamson is averaging 17.4 points a game this season, but missed 20 straight games when New Jersey Coach Kevin Loughery refused to play him because he was overweight.
Williamson, whose normal playing weight is 205, had ballooned to 228. He is down to 210 and wants to get down to 200.
Motto said Kevin Grevey will continue to start at the shooting guard spot, but "Williamson will play a lot of minutes."
"You can tell he's a basketball player," Motta said. "He picked up things very well. I liked my private conversations with him, too. He's going to play right away and he'll prove he can help us."
Williamson said he didn't report to the Bullets Tuesday because he had flown to San Antonio with the Nets Monday and was told of the trade when he returned to his hotel there. He flew back to New Jersey, took care of some personal matters and came to Washington yesterday.
The Bullets had hoped he would arrive Tuesday to get in one more day of practice, but General Manager Bob Ferry said he didn't really expect Williamson until yesterday.
Williamson said he shot tentatively yesterday while adjusting to the offense. He stayed 15 minutefs after practice and ran through more plays with Mitch Kupchak, Dave Corzine, Grevey and Larry Wright.
Williamson played in the Nets' six games previous to the All-Star Game and averaged 18.5 points, never playing more than 27 minutes a night.
"I didn't really want to get traded, but they're rebuilding in New Jersey and I'm coming to a veteran team," Williamson said. "They're trying to get into the playoffs up there and they've been in them every year here."
Williamson said he thrives on the pressure in taking important shots late in a game.
"Most of my points with the Nets lately came in the last six or seven minutes of the games," he said. "I'll take the pressure shot."
Dandridge, the Bullets' second-leading scorer with an 18.4 average, has missed 11 games already this season with assorted injuries.
"It's been sore for three or four games," Dandridge said from his home last night. "I thought the rest over the all-star break would help it, but I practiced Tuesday and it was still sore.
"I saw the doctor today (Wednesday) and he talked with John Lally (the Bullet trainer) and they decided I should rest it for two or three more days."
Dandridge said he will rejoin the team as soon as a doctor says he is ready.
Greg Ballard, who is averaging 13 points, will start in his place.
With Phegley gone, Motta said Mitch Kupchak will become the second small forward and that Grevey won't play forward except in an emergency.
"Wes and Elvin are going to have to play more minutes; that's all," Motta said.