The injuries to newcomers Gus Williams and Cliff Robinson come at a most inopportune time for Coach Gene Shue and the Washington Bullets.
Yesterday had figured to be the day Shue would name his starting team, giving the Bullets four exhibition games and almost two weeks to work toward their NBA opener Oct. 26 at Chicago. Shue likes to settle on a starting lineup early, then refine it.
It seemed just the thing to do this season, with the addition of Williams and Robinson changing the team's offensive style. But Shue, after two practices yesterday at Fort Meade, said he will not decide his starting five until the return of Williams, the catalyst to the Bullets' rekindled fast break.
That might not be until next week. Williams' ankle, sprained in the second quarter of Saturday night's 132-128 overtime exhibition loss to Atlanta, was more swollen yesterday. Williams, a guard, could be out as long as eight days, instead of the initial five-day estimate.
The 6-foot-9 Robinson, who has been impressive with his inside moves and defensive rebounding, has been suffering from back spasms since late last week. He also has a sore shoulder and his status remains day to day.
Forward Charles Davis (sore shoulder) missed all contact workouts yesterday but rookie guard Tom Sewell returned after missing a week with a slight hamstring pull.
Robinson played 12 minutes against the Hawks before his back problem forced him to the bench. In the time that Williams and Robinson were playing, the Bullets led by as many as 25 points, and Shue was impressed.
"We played very good basketball for the first half," he said. "It looked like we progressed a bit. Then we had the injuries to Gus and Cliff."
One of the major decisions facing Shue is whether to start Robinson or center Rick Mahorn. Mahorn and guard Dudley Bradley were cited by Shue as having outstanding games against the Hawks.