Guard Kevin Grevey practiced with the Bullets yesterday for the first time this season, but he and Coach Gene Shue cautioned it is too early to determine when Grevey will be activated from the injured list.
Grevey, the Bullets' third-leading scorer last season with a 13.3 average, has a torn abdominal muscle. He incurred the injury in midseason last year and was slowed the remainder of the season, but the seriousness of the injury wasn't determined until the offseason.
"The doctor said he was coming along pretty well, so he let him start practicing," said Shue. "When he is ready to be activated depends on him. He did all right today, but this is the most he's done in six months. Tomorrow he could say he can't practice again. We just don't know. I'm not counting on having him any time soon."
Grevey took part in all drills and in the scrimmage yesterday as the Bullets prepared for tonight's 8:05 game against the Detroit Pistons at Capital Centre. Grevey shot and rebounded well, and stayed an extra 45 minutes after practice playing one on one with Billy Ray Bates and Frank Johnson.
"This is the first time I've really tested it in any kind of full-court play," said Grevey. "This wasn't the big test, though. That will come in a couple of days, when I see if it flares up.
"I know I have to gradually get back into it. I talked to Gene before practice and told him I'd do what I could. I feel like I'm a good two to three weeks away before I can go on a full-time regular basis, but I just don't know. This thing could flare up and set me back.
"I have plenty of time because no one is pushing me to come back before I'm ready, but I had to test it sometime. Now was the time. Today was just the start."
Grevey said he is about 10 pounds lighter than last season's playing weight of 210 pounds. As a result, he said, "My conditioning is good. The problem is jumping and moving from side to side, the types of things you have to do to play basketball."
Shue is still concerned about what he feels is the lack of production from his starters, particularly the guards. A healthy Grevey might be the solution.
Rookie Bryan Warrick has started the last three games in Grevey's old spot, but has scored a total of eight points. Don Collins started the first three games, and he, too, scored only eight points.
As a result, point guard Johnson has had to take on the responsibility of scoring and playmaking, and is averaging 19 points and 10.3 assists. He has 43 assists (14.3 average) in the last three games, but after averaging 22 points in the first four games, Johnson has scored a total of 24 the last two.
"I just haven't been as aggressive offensively lately," he said. "People are dropping off me and my jump shot hasn't been falling."
Said Shue: "I'm really concerned about the way we get out of the gate. It seems that we're always trying to catch up. To change that, our defense has to be more aggressive and we have to execute our plays better. Other teams are keyed to what we're doing, so they're able to jam our plays. Rick (Mahorn) hasn't been hitting his shot and that has affected us, and the lack of scoring from the guards is another reason we're getting off to such bad starts every game."
Sunday's game at Philadelphia has been moved to 3 p.m. and will be televised nationally (WDVM-TV-9). The game was originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m. . . . Spencer Haywood didn't practice yesterday because of a strained calf and Jeff Ruland practiced only about 30 minutes because of a stiff back. Collins jammed his right thumb during the scrimmage and sat out the last part of practice . . . The Pistons won their first four games, but lost their last two.