It did not take long this season for the injury jinx to catch up with the Washington Bullets, who last season lost a league-high 281 man-games to injuries.
Yesterday, starting center Pervis Ellison, who had 22 points and 11 rebounds in 29 minutes against the New Jersey Nets on Sunday night, was examined by team doctor Richard Grossman and diagnosed as having a slightly strained left knee.
He won't play against the Boston Celtics tonight at the Capital Centre and will be listed as day-to-day.
Shooting guard Rex Chapman, who leads the Bullets in scoring with a 19.0 average, sustained a slight fracture of his right cheekbone during the 111-104 loss to the Nets. He is listed as probable and could play with a protective mask.
Chapman, acquired from Charlotte last February in exchange for forward Tom Hammonds, missed 60 games last season with a heel injury.
The Bullets have second-year guard LaBradford Smith on the injured list with a sprained ankle. Smith was replaced on the roster by free-agent guard Doug Overton, who had started the season on the injured list with a sore toe.
Asked who would replace Ellison and possibly Chapman, Bullets coach Wes Unseld said, "I'm really not even sure at this point.
"This all happened too quickly. I didn't even know Ellison was hurt. He didn't tell our trainer [John Lally]. Pervis just went right to the doctor when he got home today [yesterday], and then Lally called me with the news."
It is likely Unseld will give 6-foot-11 reserve center Greg Foster his first start.
Brent Price likely will open at guard if Chapman is unable to play.