Center Jeff Ruland probably will miss his second consecutive game tonight when the Washington Bullets face Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
The 6-foot-11 pivot man was scheduled to meet with team doctors in Washington today for treatment of his left shin, which he bruised in Friday's 118-114 loss in Boston. Ruland said it was unlikely he would meet the team in New York. If Ruland stays home, the Bullets will start Charles Jones at center with Dan Roundfield and Cliff Robinson at the forward spots against the struggling Knicks (2-8).
"It happened with about six or seven minutes left in the game," said Ruland. "I got kicked or kneed, and I heard this squishing sound. I guess my adrenaline got me through the game, because when I woke up the next day, it was really sore."
Ruland warmed up before Saturday's game against Philadelphia but spent the game icing the leg in the Washington locker room. The injury also forced him to sit out the team's practice yesterday at Bowie State.
Jones, Roundfield and Robinson started Saturday's 118-97 rout of the 76ers, a win so convincing that it led to an almost carnival-like atmosphere at practice yesterday. A crew from the "CBS Morning News," which is doing a feature on Manute Bol, was there, along with two fans who bought a day at practice in a preseason auction.
Washington Coach Gene Shue was not as concerned with the distractions as he was with what he perceived to be a lackadaisical attitude on the part of his players. Less than 30 minutes into the two-hour workout, he cleared the gym, venting his displeasure at the players in a voice clearly heard nearly 50 feet away.
"Saturday was a great win, but we haven't really accomplished anything yet," said Shue, whose team is 3-7.
After being chewed out, the Bullets dealt mainly with preparing for the Knicks' trapping, pressing defense. New York is the NBA's lowest-scoring team , but many of the Knicks' points are generated by opponents' turnovers.
Last season, the Bullets swept the six-game series between the teams, a feat Shue says will be hard to match.
"First of all, Gus Williams did a great job of controlling the ball, and we were able to put Jeff Malone and Greg Ballard in spots where they could get good shots right away," he said. "Of course, Greg isn't here now, so it's much more important that we're capable of rotating the ball to the areas where their players aren't."
It also might be prudent to stay away from the area directly underneath the basket. That is where Ewing lurks. The former Georgetown all-America was named the NBA's player of the week. In that stretch, the Knicks got their first wins of the season, with Ewing averaging 26.5 points, 14.5 rebounds and four blocked shots.