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Clippers' Spencer Skips Out

October 18, 1994|CHRIS BAKER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Clipper center Elmore Spencer stormed out of practice Monday night at UC Irvine, changed into his street clothes in a bathroom and walked three miles to the team hotel.

Teammate Charles Outlaw and assistant coach Jim Brewer tried unsuccessfully to talk him out of leaving.

Spencer, who declined comment, didn't attend a mandatory team meeting and breakfast Monday morning or a team luncheon before practice.

Clipper Coach Bill Fitch was baffled by Spencer's unexpected departure.

"I could give you a bunch of guesses, but whatever it was, it wasn't the right thing to do," Fitch said. "You're just not going to get by with doing that and helping this team get any better.

"I don't know what happened. I think he just got disgusted with his game and took a walk. . . . It will all come out in the wash. The only thing I know is you can't win basketball games with that attitude. We'll either change the attitude or we'll change the player.

"He may have gotten sick of a call, or whatever, but whatever it was it was wrong. If 12 guys have that attitude, you're right back to square one. If you clean it up now, no problems. If you don't clean it up, it perpetuates itself."

Fitch said Spencer probably won't play in tonight's exhibition game against the Lakers at The Pond of Anaheim and that he's likely to take disciplinary action against Spencer, who signed a $5 million, three-year contract extension on the first day of training camp.

Meanwhile, center Stanley Roberts, who hadn't practiced since reporting to camp overweight and out of shape, worked out with the team for 20 minutes but isn't ready to play.

If Spencer doesn't play tonight, Bob Martin could start.

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