The Washington Bullets lost another basketball game and another player last night, but they may have found a player for the future.
The Bullets were beaten by the Indiana Pacers, 122-107, and guard Kevin Grevey departed Market Square Arena on crutches after severely pulling the hamstring in his left leg in the third quarter. He will not be able to play in Saturday night's game against Detroit in Capital Centre or Sunday's season-ender against Cleveland.
The bright spot for the Bullets was Rick Mahorn, who started at center for the ailing Wes Unseld. The 6-foot-10 rookie made six of eight shots for 12 points and, more importantly, had 13 rebounds as the Bullets matched the larger Pacers in that category at 53 apiece.
"I've been working hard to get myself physically and mentally prepared for next season," said Mahorn, who was drafted out of Hampton Institute. "I have learned so much since coming from the college game.
"The position is open (with the retirement of Unseld) and I have to work hard for it. Basically, I'm working to keep my stamina right and learning everything I can for next year."
Grevey's injury came with 7:51 left in the third quarter. He was hustling down on a fast break when he staggered, grabbed his leg and fell. He had to be carried to the dressing room by teammates Elvin Hayes and Mahorn.
"I just felt it tear," Grevey said. "I put pressure on my left leg, I felt it go and then cramp up."
The loss of Grevey means Coach Gene Shue will have to play Andre McCarter and possible Don Collins or Anthony Roberts more at guard in the last two games.
"We're short-handed anyway," Shue said. "And, Kevin's one of our top outside shooters, so we lost a lot there."
Washington had six players in double figures, but seven Pacers scored 10 or more.
Kevin Porter had 20 for the Bullets, Greg Ballard 16, Hayes and Kupchak 15 and Mahorn and Roberts 12 each. Ballard and Hayes missed 25 of their 40 shots from the floor.
Pacer captain Mike Bantom topped his team's balanced attack with 20 although he played his third game wearing a flak jacket to protect a broken rib. Billy Knight added 18, James Edwards and Johnny Davis 16 each, Dudley Bradley 15 and Louie Orr and Clemon Johnson 10 apiece.
"Indiana is playing well," Shue said. "They made the playoffs, which is a terrific thing."
Then he shrugged and continued, "At one point we had a chance to make the playoffs."