The walls have broken down between John Williams and the Washington Bullets, as the club has finally gotten in contact with the missing forward.

But there still is no definite idea when he will report to Washington for the club physical that is mandatory for the continuation of the rehabilitation of his injured right knee.

The Baltimore Sun reported in today's editions that there were five conditions under which Williams would return to Washington. The Sun quoted his agent, Fred Slaughter, as saying Williams was amenable to four of the five conditions, but that a fifth is acting as a "stumbling block" to his return.

But just the notion that the two sides are talking is welcome news for the Bullets. Williams was supposed to report to Washington Oct. 3 to take the physical, but didn't show up and hasn't shown up since.

"It's good news for us," Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said late last night. "But I think it's better news for John. I just hope he gets things straightened out and figures out what makes him happy."

Though Slaughter told the Sun it wasn't money, this stumbling block almost has to be the more than $276,000 Williams has missed in pay since Washington stopped paying him in mid-July. A league source said last week that it was likely Williams would be able to earn back some or all of that money if he returned.

Another league source said last night that the Bullets were planning to also use Charles Grantham, the head of the players association, to try and be a liaison between the team and Williams. Grantham just returned from the McDonald's Open in Barcelona Tuesday. Grantham told the team that he would try and find Williams and talk with him.

In August, Grantham, Unseld and General Manager John Nash went to Los Angeles to meet with Williams and Slaughter after the club stopped paying him. Grantham said before he left last week that he was monitoring the Williams situation.

Williams has yet to file a grievance with the players association, which would take the case to arbitrator Daniel Collins. Certainly, if Williams thought he had a legitimate case, he would have filed by now.

In September, the Bullets got in touch with Williams through "back channels" of owner Abe Pollin. This person or people apparently were not applicable to the current situation, however, as the club lost contact with Williams in late September.

The Sun quoted Bullets vice president Jerry Sachs as saying there is "a minimal amount of optimism" that Williams will soon return. But he did not give a specific time frame.

The Bullets stopped paying Williams when they claimed he had failed to attend several rehabilitation sessions at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic in Los Angeles, after he requested that he be allowed to work on his knee, injured last December.

Unseld said it would be up to "medical people" to list just how soon Williams could return to the Bullets. But he did say he thought it "would take a heckuva commitment on his part to strengthen his knee and get himself back in shape."

Also among the missing is guard Ledell Eackles who has been holding out. Nash has said the Bullets are looking into a couple of possibilities if the Eackles negotiations drag on much longer. Word is the Bullets talked recently with Indiana about guard George McCloud, the first-round pick of the Pacers last season who saw little playing time. He played in 44 games for Indiana, averaging 2.7 points.

McCloud, the seventh pick overall in the 1989 draft, averaged 22.8 points his senior season at Florida State. The Pacers tried him at point guard last preseason, an experiment that failed miserably, and he couldn't get any time at off-guard behind all-star Reggie Miller.

Indiana General Manager Donnie Walsh said yesterday that nothing got past the discussion stage.

"I've talked with John Nash about a whole slew of players, no one specific," he said. "We haven't talked about any trades. But I like what he's doing there. He's going young."

Atlanta's logjam at guard has eased up a bit with the retirement of John Lucas and the trade of Kenny Smith to Houston. Another team filled up in the back court is Portland, which added Danny Ainge for depth in the offseason to a team that already had Drazen Petrovic and Danny Young in reserve.

But Nash said the Bullets aren't interested in the 25-year-old Petrovic, the highly-touted Yugoslavian, who will make $1.3 million this season, or Young, the veteran point guard from Wake Forest.

"We don't like {Petrovic} as much as Portland likes him," Nash said. "He's been a name that's been talked about all summer. He shoots it very well, but he's paid inordinately high for his ability and his play doesn't warrant that right now. He's an overpaid player who takes up {salary} cap room."

The Bullets' front court has been the better of the two units, with second-round pick Greg Foster and Pervis Ellison again playing as well as anyone Tuesday against the Chicago Bulls. Foster hit five of six from the floor and scored 10 points in 12 minutes in a reserve role. Ellison had six rebounds and six points in 22 minutes, though he had some problems with Chicago's 7-foot Will Perdue. And Tom Hammonds had eight rebounds.