Ledell Eackles came out of Bowie State University yesterday as if furloughed, admiring the trees, the wind, the sun. Then he remembered where he was and why he had to come back later in the day.

"No day to be in a gym," he said.

Of course, that's where Eackles has spent the better part of the last three days, as the Washington Bullets try to accomplish the improbable task of cramming six weeks into four days. Six weeks of new plays and new faces and game experiences all stuffed into 96 hours.

That's in addition to his weight.

Today, Eackles has about 15 pounds to go before he gets to prime playing weight. He's closer to 230 pounds than 240. The Bullets wanted him in at 220 whenever he ended his holdout, which turned out to be Monday when he signed a two-year deal worth $1.4 million, $620,000 the first year. It's not the worst shape to be in, but given the fact that Washington has to activate an Eackles-in-some-kind-of-shape by Saturday at the latest, it's not great.

"Right now it doesn't look very promising," Coach Wes Unseld said after putting Eackles through his first paces in a short workout with Washington's rookies and nonstarters.

To be fair -- and Unseld acknowledged it -- Eackles had just gone through a 2 1/2-hour workout with assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik, who has been sick with flu but has gotten out of bed to work with the third-year guard.

"It was all right," Eackles said, "if I hadn't been practicing earlier. I went from 10 until they got there, and started running with them. By the time they got there I was worn out. I've been getting in about 10:30, coming back in the morning. It's just been rough. But I knew it was going to be hard. It's just something I have to go through."

"Ledell has worked extremely hard since Monday," Bzdelik said. "How far has he come? To be honest, I think we'll get a truer indication when he plays against some other people. No matter how hard you work in an empty gym by yourself, it still isn't the same as going out there and defending and cutting, moving without the ball and shooting in the face of a defense."

The Bullets would like to get him in for at least a few minutes this weekend. Unseld wasn't sure yesterday whether he'd break in Friday in Philadelphia or Saturday at home against Boston.

"Ledell is right where we thought he'd be," Unseld said. "We've got a pretty good barometer on it. We knew what was going to be the story with him."

Eackles said he thought he could go three quarters this weekend in a pinch.

"Me and Coach have been on the Lifecycle," Eackles said. "He set it on the hardest stage and he said it would be just like a game. I go 24 minutes straight and maintain the speed . . . in a game, it's cut down. You get a little break with the substitutes and everything."

His regimen has been taxing. He's gone through six two-hour workouts with Bzdelik since signing -- full-court timed shooting and layup drills, side-to-side sprints, everything Bzdelik's coaching mind can think of. And that doesn't include the four miles of sprints at Navy and the weight-dripping saunas.

They've worked into the night, with Washington's games against New Jersey and Charlotte on the radio -- "for a reason," Bzdelik said. Eackles has cut around the two chairs at either end of the court simulating teammates' screens a few hundred times.

"You try to keep it interesting," Bzdelik said. "Stuff that's basketball-oriented, stuff that will push him from a conditioning standpoint."

He needs it.

By the time he practiced with the team, he was nearly out on his feet. He could barely jump in end-to-end shooting drills. Tom Hammonds tried to be supportive, encouraging him to run things out.

But there's a ways to go.

"I feel good," Eackles said. "But I really don't know. That's up to Wes and the coaching staff when they think I'm ready. I guess that's when they're going to try me. And we won't know until they try me."

Bullets Notes:

It's very, very early in the season, but if Bernard King were to sustain his current league lead, he would have bookend scoring titles unprecedented in the NBA.

King won one title in 1984 with the Knicks, averaging 32.9 points. No player has gone five years before winning another, and that's what King (currently 33.0) would do if he held on. The closest is Hall-of-Famer Paul Arizin, who went four years (1953, 1957) between titles.

The last time Michael Jordan didn't lead the league in scoring it was Dominique Wilkins, at 30.3 a game, in 1985. That was the year Jordan (stress fracture in foot) and King (knee surgery) played a combined 73 games. . . .

Haywoode Workman had his homecoming Tuesday night, squeezing in 18 of his family and friends into sold-out Charlotte Coliseum to watch him face the Hornets. He didn't disappoint, scoring 14 points with four assists.

"I didn't think I would get enough tickets," he said. "I thought about {being nervous} all day. I thought I'd be out there messing up, making a couple of turnovers, making little mistakes. But I didn't think about it come game time. I'm getting my confidence back every day shooting the ball.

"I had Muggsy {Bogues} on me, and he's a little smaller, so I tried to take advantage of that."