Forward Charles Davis, one of the stars of the Washington Bullets training camp, has strained ligaments in his right knee and will be lost to the team indefinitely.
Davis was hurt Monday afternoon when he slipped on a wet spot on the Fort Meade practice floor. He sat out the rest of the workout, but the injury wasn't thought to be serious.
When Dr. Steve Haas, one of the Bullets' team physicians, examined Davis late Monday night, however, he discovered the ligament damage and Davis' knee was placed in a splint. He will be reexamined today and trainer John Lally said the Bullets will have a better idea then how long Davis will be sidelined.
Davis won't accompany the team to Ashland, Ohio, for tonight's exhibition game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It's sore and stiff, but it didn't swell much," Davis said yesterday. "I'll be okay. I just need to rest it for a while."
Davis was so outstanding in training camp that he was pushing starter Greg Ballard at small forward.
A 6-foot-7 second-year man from Vanderbilt, Davis was the Bullets' leading scorer with 16 points in their first exhibition game against Atlanta and made all six of his shots against Milwaukee in the second game. He made only four of 11 shots against the Cavaliers in Frederick Sunday night, but is still averaging 12 points and shooting 60 percent in an average of 22 minutes a game.
Davis was making such progress that Coach Gene Shue was thinking about using him at shooting guard as well as small forward.
"The injury isn't only a setback to Charles, but a setback for the whole team," said Shue. "He's really improved a lot and with the regular season less than two weeks away, this is a very critical period for us. If we aren't going to have Charles for any substantial length of time, it will change our plans.
"We'll have to do something to make up for his loss, but until we know how serious the injury is and just how long he will be out, there isn't much we can do."
Shue used both Don Collins and Garry Witts, who are primarily shooting guards, at small forward yesterday and he said he would continue to do so until Davis returns.
After tonight, the Bullets have two more exhibition games, the second game of a doubleheader Friday night at Capital Centre against the New York Knicks and Saturday at Norfolk against the New Jersey Nets . . . Guard Bryan Warrick, who has been slowed by a bruised left thigh, is almost healed but he still wears a football thigh pad for protection . . .Spencer Haywood continues to hobble with a calcium buildup in his right leg, but is expected to play tonight . . . Jeff Ruland sat out Monday's practice with a stiff back, but returned yesterday . . . Shue said he will wait as long as possible before making any more cuts because the roster size hasn't been determined by the league . . . The Nets and Atlanta Hawks will play in the first game of Friday night's doubleheader.