AUBURN HILLS, MICH., JAN. 28 -- Washington Bullets forward John Williams was given the final seal of approval from team physicians today as he reached the 260-pound mark, clearing him for full-court workouts.

After tearing the medial collateral ligament and partially tearing his anterior cruciate ligament Dec. 2, 1989, Williams is finally physically able to go back on the court. The question of when he will return is up to the coaching staff.

The team said last week that the all-star break (Feb. 8-11) was a realistic goal. Williams had wanted to play last week against Atlanta, but had not yet reached the goal weight.

The decision, General Manager John Nash said, will be made by Coach Wes Unseld after Williams takes part in practices. But the schedule is working against an early return. The Bullets play four games in five nights this week, then play in Boston on Sunday. They then have two days off before playing in Philadelphia Feb. 6. They play host to New Jersey Feb. 7 and in San Antonio Feb. 12.

"We're probably going to have to manufacture something for him," Nash said. "We're probably going to take Wednesday, which is an optional day and make an effort to make some time for John. It's up to Wes. Maybe Thursday," when the Bullets play the Knicks, "John goes to New York and runs up and down full court with {assistant} Bill Blair. We're going to try and find some time for him."

Said Unseld: "I don't put any limitations or stipulations on myself. As soon as I can see him practice, I will. I don't know how many practices he'll need. I'll work that out with the doctors and John. I'll work him out as soon as I can and we'll make a decision from there."

Williams has looked better the last couple of weeks. But there has been no rush from the coaching staff or management to bring him back.

Williams has lost 35 pounds since coming back from Los Angeles in early November. Bullets physicians, backed by management, have been adamant in not allowing the 24-year-old forward back to full-court play until his knee could handle his weight.

He was cleared to begin limited workouts last month. But the schedule has not allowed for many full-team practices this month -- two, to be exact -- so Williams's regimen has consisted mainly of weight lifting and running drills with strength coach Dennis Householder, combined with whatever the coaching staff could produce on the side.

"If Wes wants to activate him," Nash said, "I'm sure {team physicians} will want to sign off on that as well. When he's had some practices we'll have a better read on it."

Presumably Williams would like to get back as soon as possible. There is the matter of the $644,000 that the Bullets have withheld from him since July, when they said Williams was not rehabilitating his knee in the proper manner.

That matter was resolved after three months of occasionally angry wrangling, culminating in Williams missing all of training camp. Williams will receive his money in full when he plays again.