At least Jeff Ruland hasn't lost his sense of humor.
As wind and rain buffeted the area, making even the 20-yard walk from the hotel to a waiting bus a risky proposition, the Washington Bullets' center-forward looked at rail-thin Manute Bol and suggested someone attach something heavy to Bol's ankles "so that he doesn't get blown away."
Ruland's comparatively sunny mien was helped no doubt by the fact that for the first time in two weeks, he was participating in a full-scale team workout.
Today was the day he tested his tender right ankle, initially broken on Dec. 11 and reinjured Feb. 1.
"It's better than it has been since I hurt it," Ruland said. "But I'm still having trouble planting on it. I'd like to play tomorrow, but we'll just have to wait and see how it feels."
Also taking a wait-and-see attitude is forward Tom McMillen, who was activated from the injured list today after missing nine games with a ruptured tendon in his right foot. The 10-year veteran joined the Bullets here in time to participate in an afternoon workout before a flight to Seattle for Saturday night's game against the SuperSonics.
"I think I'm ready to go, but it's tough to have to sit out in the middle of the season. It takes time to get back into the groove," he said. "I'll have to get my stability back. It may bother me for a couple of weeks, but that's how it goes."
Thursday night's 109-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors was one of many that just as easily could have been a Bullets victory.
"I look at this game, the Detroit game before the all-star break, losing twice to Indiana -- a lot of games -- and I shake my head because our record could be so much better," said Jeff Malone, who has played well.
Two nights after scoring a career-high 43 points against Portland, the third-year guard got 36 against the Warriors.
Ironically, it was Malone who twice couldn't come through late in Thursday's loss. With the score tied at 105 with 41 seconds remaining in the game, Washington took a timeout to set up a play for Malone, but he missed a long jumper. A short time later he missed a second shot, also by a hair.
"Both of those times I just knew they were going in," he said. "The form, the rhythm, everything felt good."
Of course, by then the Bullets had kicked away what was at one time a 14-point lead. That margin was built with some strong fast-break play, the second consecutive game that Washington was able to run effectively.
Coach Gene Shue, though, said he wouldn't count on that becoming a major part of the Bullets' game.
"If it's there, that's fine," he said. "And when you play some of the weaker teams in the league you're going to get some fast-break opportunities.
"But I just don't think we have the personnel to run up and down the floor at all times. We're really not productive when we try to do that."
Some Bullets believe the team can become proficient at the fast break, given the proper amount and form of work.
"We just have to make smarter decisions with the basketball," said Ruland. "If you've got a break then go, if not then slow it down.
"There has to be good judgment along with good rebounding, which gets everything started.