EMMITSBURG, MD., OCT. 5 -- John Williams again did not appear for a mandatory physical in Washington today, and the Washington Bullets continue to wait for word from their injured forward.

While the team went through its first full day of training camp here, complete with two practices, Williams's location was still a mystery. While Washington wouldn't be happy with anyone not showing up for such a rudimentary exercise, Williams's summer of discontent, in which he hasn't been paid by the team in 10 weeks for not working on rehabilitating his knee, makes this absence more disturbing.

Williams has had more than $200,000 of his $1.2 million salary withheld since July 15.

General Manager John Nash expressed frustration at the team's inability to contact Williams. The forward was supposed to go to the Washington office of Steve Haas, one of the Bullets' physicians, for the examination on Thursday, but did not appear.

Williams, like all other players, must be cleared to play by Haas before he is allowed back on the floor by the Bullets. But Williams also has to be at a low enough weight that his injured knee can take the cuts and pounding of NBA play. He reportedly weighed more than 300 pounds this summer.

There was no answer of phone calls to Williams's home today and his agent, Fred Slaughter, did not return calls. Nash left two messages with Slaughter; neither was returned.

"It's frustrating when you're just trying to get a reasonable explanation," Nash said, "and the player and his representative become incommunicado."

Nash, here for the weekend, has been in touch with owner Abe Pollin and Coach Wes Unseld daily. But "there's not much to share," he said. "If I had something meaningful to say to Wes and Abe, I would. But there's nothing to say."

The Bullets aren't going to have Haas standing by this weekend in case Williams does show up.

Said Nash: "If we need him I'm sure we can contact him and make arrangements. Right now Steve's, I'm sure, planning to do whatever he had planned to do Saturday and Sunday. . . . We would attempt to get him examined as soon as possible, but if that's not until Monday, it's not until Monday.

" . . . I'm new on the scene, so I have more patience, maybe, than others. {But} this is most unusual behavior."

Meanwhile, the thaw in negotiations with guard Ledell Eackles continued as Nash and Eackles' agent, Eddie Sapir, spoke by phone for the second time in two days. As in Thursday's chat, no numbers were mentioned, but talking twice in 24 hours after not talking for six weeks is a sign that things are, at last, moving.

"We both have a job to do," Sapir said from New Orleans. "I just want to make sure we have the right atmosphere between John and the club and Ledell."

"I told him I hoped we could continue to talk and I would attempt to reach him either Monday or Tuesday," Nash said. "We both reestablished our logic for our positions."

Sapir said he will abandon his hard-line stance on signing bonuses and lump payments in case of injury. Previously, he stated he would be more flexible on deferred payments. But on the bedrock issue of salary the sides are still far apart.

The Bullets aren't budging off $2.8 million for four years. Eackles had been asking for $8 million over four, but Sapir indicates his main concern is that Eackles merely stay above the league average each season.

"The average player is making a million," Sapir said. "I would certainly hope no one would dispute that Ledell is above average. So that's where you have to get started. If the Bullets are going to make a long-term commitment to Ledell they've got to look at Ledell as an above-average player."

Sapir mentioned a $5.5 million deal over four years as indication that "their thinking would certainly be a lot better than it has been in the past. I'm not going to commit myself to what I'll accept in the paper but we need to think in terms of how Eddie Sapir can say: 'I'll be able to talk now. We can make a deal.' "