The Washington Bullets, with a look of satisfaction about them, limped out of Texas and into the Pacific Northwest today to start the second part of their six-game road trip.
The Texas portion of the trip was a success, even with Saturday's 111-104 loss to the Houston Rockets, because the Bullets already had beaten San Antonio and Dallas.
The three Texas games, which left the Bullets one game below .500 (24-25) took their toll, however. Greg Ballard, Kevin Grevey, Frank Johnson and Rick Mahorn all have injuries.
Grevey is the only one who may not be able to play Tuesday, when the Bullets face the Portland Trail Blazers.
Grevey, who is left-handed, injured tendons and ligaments in his right hand when he banged it against the bottom of the backboard while trying to stop a shot by Dallas's Elston Turner on Wednesday. The hand was too sore for Grevey to play against Houston.
"I hyperextended it at the knuckle of my index finger," Grevey said. "It just popped out and messed up all of the tendons and ligaments in the area."
X-rays showed no fracture, but the hand is badly swollen and discolored. "It's so tender I can't catch the ball or handle it at all," said Grevey. "Everything I try to do with it hurts. I hope I can play Tuesday. All I can do now, though, is get treatments on it twice a day and hope it gets better."
Coach Gene Shue started Don Collins in Grevey's guard spot against the Rockets and Collins responded with 20 points, as he made 10 of 17 shots from the field.
Mahorn gave the Bullets a big scare by twisting his right ankle during the pregame warmups when Collins came down on him during the layup drills. Mahorn had to be helped to the dressing room, but, after getting retaped by trainer John Lally, returned and outrebounded Moses Malone, 13-12.
Malone scored 32 points, though, and the Rockets won their eighth straight game. The Bullets trailed by 10 points with eight minutes to play, but Jeff Ruland and Johnson led a comeback that got them within a point, 101-100, with 2:10 remaining. Robert Reid scored the game's next four points, however, and the Bullets never regained the lead.
Mahorn wasn't at full strength, even though he said he got looser as the game progressed. He said today that the ankle was sore, but not sore enough to prevent him from playing against Portland.
Ballard played for the first time in four games in San Antonio on Tuesday, but still was favoring his sprained right ankle. He then got hit just above the left eye and had to have four stitches.
If all of that wasn't enough, Frank Johnson injured his neck in practice Friday and it was so stiff against the Rockets, he could barely turn around. He played only 19 minutes and made five of 12 shots.
Still, Shue is smiling.
"Two out of three in Texas is terrific," he said. "You want to win every game you play, but realistically, to win two of three down there is fantastic."
After the Portland game, the Bullets will travel to Seattle to face the SuperSonics Thursday and then conclude the 14-day trip at Oakland Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.