The Washington Bullets, troubled with injury problems all season, received another major blow yesterday when they learned that starting guard Don Collins has a stress fracture of the right foot and will be sidelined five to six weeks.
"This really hurts us," said Coach Gene Shue. "We aren't a high-scoring team to begin with and now with Frank (Johnson) and Don both out, we're in real trouble.
"We've lost a major part of our speed and quickness. Our two fastest players are gone and that puts us at a great disadvantage."
Collins is the Bullets' fourth-leading scorer (12) and rebounder (3.4) and is a 53 percent field-goal shooter.
Kevin Grevey, who started in Collins' place Monday night and scored 22 points, will start again tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks at Capital Centre at 8:05.
Shue said Bryan Warrick, Carlos Terry and Charles Davis may be used at the shooting guard position, too. "A lot of people can play there, but who will be effective is a different story," Shue said.
He said he will wait a few days before deciding on any roster moves because of Collins' absence.
"Frank is going to get reexamined Thursday and we'll wait until after that before we do anything," Shue said. "If he isn't going to be out much longer, we might just go with 11 players for awhile."
Johnson was put on the injured list Dec. 20 with a chipped bone in his right (shooting) elbow; the Bullets expected him to be out three to four weeks. Warrick has started the four games Johnson has missed.
Collins said he first noticed pain in his foot the last five minutes of the Dec. 18 game against the Philadelphia 76ers, the same game in which Johnson was injured.
"It started bothering me then, but I didn't say much about it," said Collins. "We had a day off the next day, but it was still hurting pretty bad the next Monday. They X-rayed it, but they were negative, so I kept playing. I played at New Jersey and then against Atlanta, but it was really hurting by then. I couldn't push off it or anything, so they decided to give me a bone scan."
Collins was given the bone scan late Monday, but the results weren't known until yesterday morning. He was held out of Monday's game against Chicago as a precaution.
Collins' injury is one of many for the Bullets this season. Grevey began the season on the injured list with a torn abdominal muscle and he wasn't activated until Dec. 1.
Spencer Haywood was on the injured list from Nov. 16 to Dec. 10 with strained ligaments in his right calf and Dave Batton was out from Nov. 18 to Dec. 2 with a sprained ankle. Then came Johnson's injury.
"It seems that every time we start to get going, something happens," said Shue.
Haywood charged into Terry during practice yesterday and sustained a cut over his right eye that required stitches. He is expected to play tonight against the Bucks.