Fireworks prove too hot for Eackles

BOWIE — BOWIE -- Washington Bullets trainer John Lally, who has been calling the NBA on a regular basis to report the team's latest injuries, expected to raise some eyebrows in the league office with the latest casualty.

Reserve guard Ledell Eackles sat out practice at Bowie State yesterday, his right (shooting) hand bandaged to protect a gunpowder burn from getting infected.


The injury was not considered serious, and Eackles was expected to suit up against the New Jersey Nets at the Meadowlands tonight.

"It was just one of those things," Eackles said and left it to coach Wes Unseld to explain what happened.


"It's seems Ledell was fooling with a Roman candle over New Year's, and it went off in his hand," said Unseld. "He wanted to practice, but Lally advised him against it."

Pressed to comment further, Unseld said, "It was illegal, ill-advised and just plain stupid."

Eackles, a fourth-year veteran who reported to training camp overweight, has been in and out of Unseld's doghouse this season. His scoring average has dipped to 6.8 points, little more than half of last season's 13.0 mark.

The news on another injured Bullet was better. Starting center Pervis Ellison, who was involved in an auto accident en route to the Capital Centre for the game against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, is listed as probable tonight.

Ellison, who leads the team in rebounding (11.8) and is second in scoring, (20.2) also missed practice while reclaiming his Ford Bronco from a towing area. He continued therapy treatments for his stiff neck, but was expected to join the team on its bus trip to New Jersey.