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NBA Notes : Comeback Is Over for Washington

November 29, 1987|MIKE BARNES | United Press International

Kermit Washington's comeback apparently has ended before it really ever got started.

Washington, who returned to the NBA this season after a five-year absence, has been waived by the struggling Golden State Warriors. At 36 the league's fourth-oldest player, he played just 56 minutes in six games, collecting only 16 points and 19 rebounds.

"I went to practice and I was called in and told about it," said Washington, who was signed Oct. 13 after failing a tryout with Portland. "They said they were sorry it didn't go better, but they had to make a change. I think I saw it coming."

Washington was signed as a backup for Larry Smith, and played 16 minutes in the season opener. But with Smith playing sparingly because of injury and the Warriors losing 10 of their first 11 games, Golden State could not carry a limited player like Washington on its roster.

"Our team isn't what it was," Executive Vice President Don Nelson said. "Coming into the season we had him penciled into a role where he'd be playing eight minutes a game. But with Larry out another 2-3 weeks all that's changed."

The Warriors are in trouble. Already, there's been speculation Coach George Karl will be fired to make room for Nelson, who joined the club in the off-season after leaving Milwaukee.

"We have had our face rubbed in the mud in the NBA," Karl said.

Elsewhere around the NBA:

--John Stroeder of the Bucks is believed to be the oldest rookie in NBA history. He was 29 years, three months and 13 days old on opening night.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound forward, a former teammate of Micheal Ray Richardson at the University of Montana, helped the Rapid City Thrillers capture the Continental Basketball Association title last year. He has also played in England and France.

"I just try to do the basics, the litle things," Stroeder said. "I think they're looking for a guy who can play defense and rebound. They've got lots of guys on the team who can score."

--The Lakers could be in trouble this year if James Worthy's left knee continues to give him problems. It's the same knee in which the Los Angeles forward fractured a bone in his rookie season.

"It's just unpredictable," said Worthy, who left early and did not score a point against Seattle Tuesday night. "It's more sore than it's been."

--In that Lakers-Sonics game, Seattle's Xavier McDaniel was given a technical foul after grabbing Los Angeles reserve guard Wes Matthews around the throat and applying the pressure.

Matthews is six inches shorter and 35 pounds lighter than "The X-Man," but vowed revenge anyway.

"When he comes to L.A., he's mine," Matthews said. "He should have been thrown out of the game for grabbing my neck, and I won't forget it. I can't wait to play him again, because his bald head is mine."

--The Sacramento Kings were in such poor shape in the backcourt recently that 10-year veteran Terry Tyler started at off-guard. The 6-7 Tyler had never before played guard at any level. Now, the situation has gotten worse.

Rookie playmaker Kenny Smith, the team's No. 1 pick from North Carolina, broke his left hand against Portland last week and will miss 2-4 weeks. He's the sixth Sacramento guard to miss time this season.

Reggie Theus (hamstring), Derek Smith (knee), Harold Pressley (broken nose), Michael Jackson (ankle) and Franklin Edwards (foot) each have missed time.

"I've never seen the wheels fall off the wagon this quickly since I've been a trainer," Kings trainer Bill Jones said. "Usually this early in the season it's the inside players who get banged up."

--Dallas may have the most 7-footers in the league (four on its opening day roster) but the Celtics are the NBA's tallest team, averaging 6 feet, 8.46 inches per player. Detroit is next, followed by the Mavericks. Denver (6-6.14) is the shortest club.

Portland, "buoyed" by Kevin Duckworth, is the league's heaviest team at 3,367 pounds (224.47 average). The Nuggets also bring up the bottom (208.07) in this category.

The oldest team is the Bucks (29.15 years), the youngest the Cavaliers (25.26). The most experienced club is the Lakers (thanks to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, an average of 5.77 NBA seasons per man) while the Pacers are the league's greenest club (2.36 years).

--Watch out for the Jazz in the second quarter at the Salt Palace. Utah has run off second-period streaks this year of 20-0 vs. Sacramento, 21-3 vs. Phoenix, 20-0 vs. Denver and 21-4 vs. Indiana.

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