Bullets Coach Gene Shue said yesterday he is considering signing veteran Kevin Porter to replace injured guard Frank Johnson on Washington's NBA roster.
Johnson suffered a chipped bone in his right elbow in the Bullets' 100-97 victory Saturday night over the Philadelphia 76ers at Capital Centre. A preliminary diagnosis indicated Johnson will be out of action three to four weeks. If that diagnosis is confirmed in a follow-up examination today, Johnson will be put on the injured list.
Johnson got hurt when he charged into Philadelphia's Moses Malone in the third quarter. Johnson left the game immediately and did not return.
"We're going to wait and see what they say tomorrow (Monday)," said Shue, "and, depending on what we're told, we'll make our move. If he is indeed going to be out three or four weeks, we'll have to do something major. I would say Kevin Porter would be among the possibilities.
"We've only had minor discussions so far, but Kevin already knows the offense and that would be a plus."
Porter, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles' tendon, played well in training camp, but was cut the day before the season started.
"We were finally getting everyone healthy and really starting to play well, so I hate to see this kind of injury right now," said Shue. "We were moving in the right direction and this has to affect us."
Rookie Bryan Warrick, who has played well the past two games, will take over as the starter now, Shue said.
"Fortunately we're not caught with our hands down because Bryan has gotten more time lately and played very well the last two games. I guess we'll find out if he's ready to take over."
John Lucas, who didn't play in the 76ers game, is the only other point guard on the roster. Shue said he is not convinced he can depend on Lucas, necessitating the signing of another point guard if Johnson is sidelined for any significant length of time.
After playing only 16 minutes and scoring two points in the previous 11 games, Warrick played 21 minutes against Detroit Friday night and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bullets to a 119-110 victory.
Against Philadelphia, Warrick played 31 minutes and had eight points and three assists.
At the time he was hurt, Johnson appeared to be coming out of an eight-game shooting slump. He had made five of seven shots from the field and had 13 points and three assists in 17 minutes before his injury Saturday. In the eight games before that, he had made only 28 of his 98 shots (29 percent).
Johnson's loss dampened the thrill of victory over the 76ers, but not its significance.
It was Washington's 10th victory in the last 13 games and improved its record to 13-11. Philadelphia, which went into the game with the best record in the NBA, lost for only the fifth time in 25 games. The 76ers had beaten the Bullets eight straight times over two seasons.
The Bullets slowed down the 76ers and then handled them inside, outrebounding the top rebounding team in the league, 53-46. The Bullets got 21 offensive rebounds and converted them into 24 points.
Don Collins made three free throws in the final 10 seconds to secure the victory. Collins and Greg Ballard each finished with 15 points.
Rick Mahorn had a career-high eight blocked shots. He often guarded Julius Erving.
Shue called the victory the second-biggest one of the season. "We had lost four in a row and then got blown out by L.A., but the next night came back and beat San Diego," said Shue. "That was a damn important win. For timing, it was the biggest win, but last night (Saturday) was a real confidence builder and keeps us going."
Jeff Ruland had his right hand examined, but X-rays were negative. He is expected to play this week. The Bullets are home Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, go to New Jersey Thursday and play at home against Atlanta on Christmas night.