The Washington Bullets, romping through the National Basketball Association with a six-game winning streak, may be without the services of starting guard Frank Johnson for awhile.
Johnson reinjured his left ankle in the first quarter of Saturday night's 109-106 overtime victory over the Kings in Kansas City and didn't return to the game.
The sprained ankle was swollen and very sore yesterday and Johnson was limping as he boarded the flight home.
His left foot has troubled Johnson since he suffered a stress fracture while at Wake Forest. He still has a pin in it. He also has a slight crack in the ankle, incurred a month ago when he twisted his ankle. Saturday, Phil Ford jumped in front of him as Johnson drove to the basket and they both went down in a heap.
"It's worse now than it's ever been," Johnson said. "It's a day-to-day thing and I just don't know how long I'll be out."
The Bullets, one of the hottest teams in the National Basketball Association, have won 17 of their last 25 games and are two games above .500 at 21-19. Their next game is Tuesday night against the Chicago Bulls at Capital Centre.
When Johnson went down six minutes into the game, John Lucas relieved him and had one of his best games since losing his starting job to Johnson three weeks ago. Lucas, who had a harrowing week in the wake of his public disclosure that he has a problem with cocaine, played 43 minutes, scored 11 points and had 10 assists, six rebounds, a steal and only two turnovers.
"I felt good," said Lucas. "All I can do is play as well as I can when I get the chance. It's been a little tough for me to concentrate with all of this hullaballoo going on, but I'm getting my (playing) time back and everything is working out."
When Lucas needed a rest, Coach Gene Shue used a back court of Kevin Grevey and Don Collins, but it wasn't very effective.
"We'll have to wait and see how Frank is," Shue said. "I don't know what I'll do if he's out for a while. We need him."
The other guard on the Bullet roster who can run the offense is rookie Gary Witts, who has played well.
Grevey scored 25 points against the Kings, including nine straight free throws in the second half to help the Bullets beat the Kings in Kansas City for the first time since Jan. 6, 1977.
Jeff Ruland scored six of his 19 points in the overtime. Greg Ballard had 24 points for the Bullets.
The streaking Bullets have a two-game lead over Atlanta for the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference, behind Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
After Tuesday's game against the Bulls, the Bullets will host the New York Knicks Thursday and then have a four-day vacation during the break for the All-Star Game before facing Cleveland at Capital Centre Feb. 2.
No Bullets made the All-Star Team for the second straight year.