Although the swelling in his right ankle has gone down, Washington Bullets center Jeff Ruland probably will sit out the team's last two games before this weekend's NBA all-star break.
Ruland and center Manute Bol, who has a sore back, were examined Tuesday morning by team physician Carl MacCartee. Bol, who said he twisted his back during Saturday night's 116-101 loss to the Detroit Pistons, was given permission to accompany the team to Boston for tonight's game against the Celtics and was listed as probable.
Ruland will not be going to Boston, even though his ankle had improved to the point where taking X-rays wasn't considered a necessity. He originally broke the ankle on Dec. 11 against the Pistons and he hurt it again last Saturday against the Pistons. He did not play the fourth quarter of that game.
After seeing MacCartee Tuesday morning, Ruland dropped in for the final half hour of practice at Bowie State College, where he walked with only the slightest trace of a limp.
"It's still sore and the doctors don't want to take any chances," Ruland said before icing the leg.
Tonight against the Celtics, Washington will start Charles Jones in place of Ruland, with Cliff Robinson moving back from small forward to power forward. That was the lineup the team was using before Ruland's return.
Coach Gene Shue is not happy about using it again. "We have to try and get some consistency," he said. "We were going well for a time when Jeff was out and then we were starting to adjust when he came back. Now we may have to adjust again.
"That's why injuries hurt so much. Right now there's little margin for error. Everyone has to play well."
Shue said that the team's doctors didn't feel it would be wise to subject Ruland's ankle to the pounding of games on consecutive nights, particularly with the four-day all-star break coming up beginning Friday.
After a game Thursday night at Capital Centre against Detroit, the Bullets are idle until next Tuesday night, when they play in Portland.