John Lucas failed to show up for practice for the second time this season yesterday and the Bullets are contemplating giving up on the former Maryland all-America, according to team sources.
His wife Debby said Lucas left the family's Silver Spring home at about 9:45 for the 11 a.m. practice at Bowie State. He never got there. Lucas' whereabouts were unknown until he returned home at about 10 p.m.
He could not be reached for comment but his attorney, David Falk, said he had spoken to Lucas. "I can confirm that John returned home without incident and he will be joining the team for the trip to New York Saturday morning," Falk said. Falk said he had no further comment on Lucas' behavior.
In another development, the Bullets activated forward Spencer Haywood and waived rookie forward Steve Lingenfelter. Haywood, who had been on the injured list since Nov. 15 with strained ligaments in his right calf, is expected to play tonight when the Bullets face the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden (WDCA-TV-20, 7:30).
The Bullets traded two second-round draft choices to Golden State for Lucas before the start of last season. Lucas is in the second year of a five-year, $300,000-a-year contract. Because of his unexcused absences and his admitted problems with cocaine last season, the Bullets are in a position to void his contract, it has been learned.
After Lucas disclosed his drug problem, he was treated by both a personal physician and one appointed by the National Basketball Association. He spent six weeks in a Philadelphia hospital.
The Bullets had no problems with Lucas this season until he and teammate Don Collins missed a practice Nov. 30. Lucas reportedly had an automobile accident on his way to practice and was fined $250. No other disciplinary action was taken at that time.
Earlier in the evening, Bullets General Manager Bob Ferry said, "Until we talk to him, there just isn't much we can do or say."
Lucas' last two games were his best of the season. With starting point guard Frank Johnson in a slump, Lucas has gotten more playing time. He played 22 minutes and scored 12 points with six assists in the Bullets' 98-95 victory over Denver Thursday night at Capital Centre. He had 13 points and eight assists in 23 minutes against New Jersey the night before.
Haywood was averaging 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds when he was put on the injured list. The injury was incurred against the New Jersey Nets in Landover Nov. 3.
The Bullets have won seven of their last nine games and Shue said the return of Haywood should make the team even better. "What Spencer can do is score and we need scoring," he said.
When Haywood was put on the injured list, Carlos Terry, cut before the start of the season, was re-signed. Terry has been used sparingly, primarily as a defensive guard, and is averaging 0.3 points in eight games.