Washington Bullets guard Gus Williams, who has missed the last three games because of injury, is expected to return to the lineup tonight when the Utah Jazz comes to Capital Centre.
At practice yesterday, Williams showed little ill effect from the strained adductor tendon in his right leg that has sidelined him lately. Williams said he expects to play against the Jazz tonight at 7:30.
Assistant Coach Bernie Bickerstaff was in charge yesterday during the workout. With Coach Gene Shue just one victory short of 700 in the National Basketball Association, the celebration may have to wait until he recovers from the virus that kept him away from the team's practice at Bowie State College.
Under Bickerstaff, the players worked out for nearly two hours, some of the time split into three four-man squads for a full-tilt scrimmage.
The Jazz, surprise winners of the Midwest Division last season, have struggled much of this season to remain at the .500 level, but are showing signs of regaining last season's form.
Forward Adrian Dantley, the league's 1983-84 leading scorer, didn't rejoin the team until late November, having held out in the preseason for a new contract. When he did return, he quickly regained his place as the team's leading point producer, now averaging more than 25 a game.
Bothered recently by a sprained right foot, Dantley, from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, nevertheless scored 38 points Sunday night against Kansas City. But Bickerstaff has been more impressed by other aspects of Dantley's game.
"He's been more of an all-round team player this season," Bickerstaff said. "He's rebounding, passing the ball around and playing better defense, too."
Williams should help Washington better counteract the explosive quickness of Utah guard Rickey Green, who is averaging nearly 10 assists and more than two steals a game. In last season's two-game split with the Bullets, Green averaged nine assists and two steals. "We really have to keep him contained," said Bickerstaff.
Another potential problem for the Bullets is 7-foot-4 center Mark Eaton. Last season's leading shot blocker, he swatted away eight Sunday, which worries Bickerstaff. "What he does is plant himself in the lane and go after anything close to the basket."
The solution, according to Bullets center Jeff Ruland, is to "go outside and make him follow you. He's in big trouble if you can get him to the point where he has to start moving his feet. We've been pretty successful using that approach in playing against him, I hope it will continue to be that way." Last season, Ruland averaged 23 points and 11.5 rebounds against Utah.
The Jazz also are trying to adjust to the loss of forward John Drew. Suspended last week, he was waived Saturday. According to team President David Checketts, it has been arranged for Drew to enter a drug treatment facility. Two years ago he spent eight weeks at a similar facility in Maryland to overcome what he called a five-year dependency on cocaine.