Washington Bullets center Rick Mahorn, who sprained his right ankle in Tuesday night's victory over the Utah Jazz, is not seriously injured and is expected to start tonight when the team plays the Bulls in Chicago (WDCA-TV-20 at 8:10).
Mahorn said his ankle was a bit sore yesterday, but there was no swelling and he practiced with the team before it left for Chicago.
Mahorn, who has not missed a game this season, suffered the injury early in the first period. He tried to return in the second quarter, but was limping badly and was quickly replaced. He tried again to play at the start of the third period but found the pain was too great.
He scored only four points and had two rebounds in eight minutes. Fortunately for the Bullets, who still have slim playoff hopes, rookies Dave Batton and Joe Kopicki picked up the team.
Batton made seven of 12 shots and scored 14 points, and Kopicki, who was signed as a free agent March 9 after Spencer Haywood retired, made his most significant contribution as a Bullet, scoring eight points and contributing 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes.
Kopicki, from the University of Detroit, was a third-round draft choice of the Atlanta Hawks, but was released before the season started. He also had a tryout with the Indiana Pacers. When the Bullets signed him, he was playing for the Wisconsin Flyers of the Continental Basketball Association and averaging 21.3 points and 11.7 rebounds.
He is 6-feet-9 and 240 pounds and impressed the Bullets with his defense and aggressiveness. He also showed that he has an outside shot.
General Manager Bob Ferry said Kopicki was signed instead of re-signing Steve Lingenfelter or Joe Cooper, because, Ferry said, he knew what they could do and wanted to get a closer look at Kopicki for long-term purposes.