Washington Bullets forward Jeff Ruland has a strained left knee and is doubtful for tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors at Capital Centre, according to a team spokesman.
Ruland was examined by Dr. Carl MacCartee, a team physician, shortly after the Bullets returned yesterday morning from Indiana. MacCartee discovered no ligament damage, according to the Bullets, who said Ruland's status will be evaluated daily.
Ruland, who leads the team in rebounding average (11.7 per game) and is second in scoring average (19.5), injured the knee when he drove for a basket early in Monday's victory over New Jersey. He had 23 points and a team-high nine rebounds in 42 minutes, but after the game soaked his swollen right ankle in ice and complained of pain in his knee and lower back. He did not play in Tuesday's 100-87 loss to Indiana.
"I'm favoring one foot, and I think that's why my back is hurting," Ruland said after Monday's game. "My ankle and knee bother me sometimes during the game, and I still don't have my timing back. I should be shooting more, but I'm not fluid out there."
Ruland has missed 30 of the team's 58 games. He sat out two games in November with a bruised left shin, 22 in December and January with a fractured right foot and six in February with a sore right ankle, intestinal flu and now, a strained knee.
Washington Coach Gene Shue called the diagnosis "encouraging" but added, "This has been a hard season with all these injuries. You really have to have your group together so you can see where you are and evaluate your progress. So far, this has not worked the way we had hoped with Frank Johnson (out 44 games, broken foot) and Jeff.
"Prior to the injuries, (Ruland) was playing the best basketball I've ever seen him play. At this point, Jeff needs to be in the lineup just to get his timing back."
Shue said he likely will start Tom McMillen for Ruland. McMillen, also slowed by foot problems, played only nine minutes and did not score in Tuesday's start against Indiana.
"We haven't been shooting very well, so we have to have Tom's offense," Shue said.
The Warriors have a way of curing a team's shooting ills, giving up 116 points per game on 52 percent shooting, both NBA highs. Hawks 129, Cavaliers 109
Forward Cliff Levingston scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta rolled to its fourth consecutive victory.
It was the Hawks' 19th victory in 21 home games and their 34th victory of the season, matching last season's total.
The Hawks turned the game into a rout by outscoring Cleveland, 16-4, to open the fourth quarter with four points each by Levingston and reserve center Jon Koncak.
Dominique Wilkins had a game-high 28 points for Atlanta, going 10 for 10 at the free-throw line. Spud Webb had 22 points, one short of the career high he set in Monday's victory over the Lakers, and a career-high 15 assists.
Roy Hinson led Cleveland with 26 points and Melvin Turpin had 19. Celtics 120, Spurs 100
Robert Parish matched his season high of 27 points, including 11 in a 17-6 Boston surge late in the first half, as the Celtics improved their home record to 24-1.
The Celtics, who won their 15th consecutive home game, cranked up their running game to take a 61-48 halftime lead over San Antonio.
The Spurs were led by Mike Mitchell's 16 points and Steve Johnson's 15. Pistons 111, Clippers 104
Kelly Tripucka scored 30 points and Isiah Thomas 22 as Detroit won its ninth straight overall and 13th at home.
With Los Angeles ahead by 65-58 early in the third quarter, Tripucka scored eight points in an 18-6 Pistons surge. The Clippers scored six straight to close to 97-93 with 3:25 left. A basket by Thomas followed by a Tripucka layup put Detroit ahead, 101-93, with 2:02 left.
Benoit Benjamin had 20 for the Clippers. Lakers 119, Mavericks 116
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 25 points and Magic Johnson and Byron Scott had 21 each as Los Angeles took advantage of Dallas mistakes in the final minute.
After a traveling call on Abdul-Jabbar, Dallas, trailing by 116-114, lost an opportunity to tie when it failed to get off a shot before the 24-second clock expired. Then after a miss by the Lakers, a steal by Scott ruined another chance to tie. Kurt Rambis made one of two free throws with 35 seconds remaining.
A follow shot by Mark Aguirre, who led the Mavericks with 28 points, made it 117-116 with 27 seconds left, but two Michael Cooper free throws gave Los Angeles its final margin. Rolando Blackman missed a three-pointer with five seconds left. Suns 113, Trail Blazers 112
Walter Davis scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, including a jumper with eight seconds left, as Phoenix won at home. Portland's 11th straight loss is the league's longest losing streak this season.
The Trail Blazers, down by 63-54 at halftime, rallied for a 90-89 lead after the third period as Clyde Drexler had 14 points and Mychal Thompson eight. Kenny Carr's free throw with 30 seconds to go put Portland up, 112-111, before Davis' 18-foot jumper with eight seconds left.
Drexler finished with 25 points for the Trail Blazers.