Less than two hours after he resumed working out, Kevin Grevey was back on the sidelines yesterday after dislocating the little finger on his left hand. X-rays showed no fracture, but the veteran guard could be sidelined for a week.
"I hope this isn't a bad omen," Grevey said while watching the Bullets go through drills at Fort Meade. "I was very anxious to start practicing and now this happens. I've already missed six days, and now I'm going to miss more time."
Trainer John Lally said the finger will be swollen for several days, but that Grevey could start playing again once the soreness is gone.
"Naturally, it had to be my shooting hand," Grevey said, sarcastically. "I don't know how it will affect me until I try shooting. I just hope it's not too awkward or doesn't take too long."
Grevey is not supposed to practice until he signs a contract. But he was so eager to get started that he had his attorney write a letter to the league office stating that the Indiana Pacers' offer sheet that the Bullets agreed to match would be binding in case of injury.
"I'm still a player without a contract," the six-year veteran said, with a trace of disgust. "My contract hasn't been resolved, and I don't know when it will be.
"The league wouldn't allow me to work out without a contract, but I wanted to get started, so I decided to draft a letter that would protect me in case of injury. Thank goodness I had some protection after what happened."
What happened was that Grevey reached in with his left (shooting) hand and jammed his finger against someone's knee during a defensive drill. Lally rushed out and yanked the finger back in place. However, there may be ligament damage, and Grevey will be out for several days.
With Grevey on the sidelines and Frank Johnson, the team's No. 1 draft choice, unable to play because of high blood pressure, the Bullets are very short-handed in the back court.
"We just have to go with what we have," said Coach Gene Shue. "But this has really set us back. We've been working on execution, and you can't get the timing down on the plays unless you practice."
Johnson has an appointment with Dr. Herbert Singer, the team's internist, this morning and is hopeful of getting permission to start playing this afternoon.
"I talked with Johnson's agent again today and it wasn't very cordial," said General Manager Bob Ferry. "I told him I was tired of haggling over little details. We have made our final offer and I don't anticipate any more problems."
Bill Pollak, Johnson's attorney, said he agreed in principle to a contract calling for a guaranteed $200,000 a year for four years and that the player's high blood pressure will not affect the pact.
Both Johnson and Grevey are being counted on to play the shooting role in the backcourt, and in their absence Brad Holland is strengthening his position on the team.
The 6-foot-3 guard from UCLA was acquired as part of the Mitch Kupchak deal and has teamed well with Kevin Porter on the first unit.