Bullet forward Bob Dandridge said yesterday he is becoming increasingly concerned that his basketball career could be in jeopardy.
"We still don't know what's wrong," said Dandridge, who has seen a number of specialists and taken a series of tests on his injured right leg. "It'll probably take another two or three weeks before I'll know for sure what is wrong and what to do about it. The final diagnosis and decision on what to do about it could have an effect on my basketball career.
"I wouldn't want to come back next year and not be able to do what I want to do on the floor. If I can't play like I want to and like I'm used to playing, then I'll have to think about not playing and start concentrating on other things in life that are important to me."
Dandridge played in only 45 of the team's 84 games this season and his absence was a major factor in the Bullets' decline and elimination in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Dandridge has an assortment of injuries. His latest, diagnosed orginally as a pulled calf muscle, caused him to miss 25 of the Bullets' last 27 games, including both playoff losses to Philadelphia.
The injury was later diagnosed as calcium behind the knee and surgery was recommended. Dandridge said yesterday he wants to avoid surgery if at all possible.
Asked if he wanted to return to the Bullets next season, Dandridge insisted he has not thought about it.
"My primary concern is medical right now," he said. "I do expect to play somewhere next year, but I don't know if it will be here."
Dandridge's contract with the Bullets expired at the end of the season, but the Bullets have an option for next season. Dandridge said again yesterday that he has agreed to terms for next season with owner Abe Pollin.
Dandridge said it is possible the Bullets might trade him, but said he does not know why they would do it.
"They won't trade me because of my playing ability," he said, "and they know what's going on medically, so I don't see any justifiable reason for trading me."
Some players have criticized Coach Dick Motta for the poor Bullet showing this season, but Dandridge said, "Everyone has to take some blame. Motta got credit when we won, so he has to take some of the blame for losing, too. That's the way it should be."
Dandridge said yesterday he wanted very much to play this year and it was particularly difficult for him to sit on the bench during the playoff series against the 76ers.
"Sure I wanted to be in there," he said. "The playoffs are the most exciting part of the year. I wanted to play very badly, but I just couldn't."
Dandridge played in the season opener, then missed the next four games with a foot injury.
He then played in eight games before missing another with a stiff neck. He came back and played in 15 straight games before a bad back and sore knee forced him to miss five. Then he played in five, missed one, played in 12, missed three, played in two, missed 12, played in two and then missed the last 13.