Kevin Porter is a Washington Bullet again.
The team re-signed the four-time NBA assist champion last night. Coach Gene Shue said that Porter, one of the most popular of all Bullets, will be in uniform for tonight's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Capital Centre at 8:05.
The Bullets cut Porter the day before the season opened. But starting point guard Frank Johnson chipped his right elbow colliding with Philadelphia's Moses Malone Saturday night, and Shue said he thought of Porter as soon as he knew Johnson's injury was serious.
Johnson was reexamined yesterday and Dr. Steven Haas, as he originally diagnosed, said Johnson will miss three to four weeks. No surgery will be needed and Johnson's arm has been placed in a sling. He was put on the injured list.
Porter was at practice yesterday and showed the same fancy ball handling he displayed in training camp.
"I look at Kevin as insurance, but that doesn't mean he can't move all the way up," Shue said.
"I'm going to start Bryan (Warrick) and then use Luke (John Lucas) and if that doesn't work, I'll use K.P. He's ready to play. That's one of the reasons we signed him. We run a lot of stuff and it would be an awful lot for someone new to learn, especially a new point guard.
"K.P. did well in camp and I told him then and I told him again today (Monday) that the reason he was cut in the first place was because of a contract thing and not because of his ability."
Johnson was the No. 1 point guard from the first day of training camp and Porter and Lucas played evenly in competing for one roster spot.
Lucas stayed and Porter went because Lucas has a guaranteed $300,000 contract and Porter had only $100,000 of his $200,000 contract guaranteed, so the Bullets saved $100,000 by choosing Lucas.
The particulars of Porter's new contract weren't disclosed, but under NBA rules, any player on the roster Dec. 24 has his contract guaranteed for the season.
Porter, who missed all of last season with a torn Achilles' tendon, said several teams, including Phoenix and Atlanta, had contacted him and that one team was considering signing him. "But I couldn't wait any longer," he said. "I had to take was was offered right now. It feels great to be back with the Bullets. I never really expected that to happen, though. I just hope I'm here for the whole season now."
Porter said he has been running and riding a stationary bicycle to stay in shape and that it will take "three of four days get my conditioning where I want it."
Porter added that he felt comfortable in the two-hour workout yesterday and he will fit in with his old teammates. It didn't take them long to start needling him, either.
During practice, Porter took a long jump shot and Carlos Terry stopped chided: "We didn't bring you back to shoot; we brought you back to assist."
Porter said he is content to sit on the bench and do whatever is needed. "I'm not here to take Frank's place," he said.