Clinton Smith, the newest Washington Bullet, has both feet firmly planted on the ground.

"The CBA is reality. The NBA is a fantasy as far as I'm concerned," said Smith, who will sign a 10-day contract with the Bullets today when Haywoode Workman is placed on the injured list. Smith comes from the Albany Patroons, with whom he made the Continental Basketball Association all-star team with averages of 15.2 points, 7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 steals.

"In the NBA the minutes can go from two to five or whatever they want you to do," he said. "You can be a practice player or a cheerleader. Whatever you do, you give a hundred percent. You have to be ready and focused. It's not an adjustment for me. I'm just here to help the Washington Bullets win."

The 26-year-old was approached by the Bullets Monday.

"I had gotten some very positive reports on him last year from {Albany General Manager} Gerald Oliver," Bullets General Manager John Nash said. "About a week ago, when Darrell {Walker} first was injured, I got a call from {Patroons Coach} George Karl recommending him. We felt that he was probably the point guard that played most like Darrell. He's a big {6-foot-6} point guard who can defend, he can rebound a little bit and his assist-to-turnover ratio is very good."

In taking Smith, who played with Golden State in 1986, the Bullets looked past other CBA guards with whom they were more familiar, such as former training campers Shawn McDaniel, Tracy Moore and Frank Ross, and ex-Bullets Dominic Pressley and Ennis Whatley.

"There's always a debate as to which guy," Nash said. "There are probably a half-dozen guys who are close in ability. . . . When you've had those guys and you know their deficiencies, maybe you're more apt to go with somebody you haven't had just to see if there's a diamond in the rough."

Coach Wes Unseld said he knows next to nothing about Smith.

"I'm going on recommendations from some CBA coaches we talked to, John, Chuck {Douglas, a coaching assistant and scout} and some people who have seen him and scouts," Unseld said. "So I couldn't tell you a whole lot. It's very uncomfortable for me. With what we've got here, he'll get a share of time on the court." Ouch, What a Practice!

Mark Alarie took part in about half of yesterday's practice. He wore the protective goggles that will be part of his uniform for the foreseeable future. The goggles didn't fog up.

"It distorts your peripheral vision a little," he said. "It wasn't so bad. I made a couple . . . about two for 20."

Ledell Eackles (flu) didn't practice and his status for tonight's game against the 76ers is uncertain. Harvey Grant wasn't feeling well and also skipped practice. Bernard King (sprained right pinky) sat out as well, as did Pervis Ellison (back spasms) and Charles Jones (pulled hamstring). In fact, it would be simpler to note who did practice: Tom Hammonds, Byron Irvin, Greg Foster, A. J. English and Alarie. John Williams also took part. He's still not ready.

Walker came to practice yesterday with a thigh-to-shin brace on his right leg. He said he wears it "in case I step in a hole or something." He will resume treatments for his chronic tendinitis in his ankles today.