BOWIE -- Like a kindergarten teacher on a school outing, Washington Bullets coach Wes Unseld spends much of his time these days counting heads.
When the count of live bodies fails to reach 10, or enough to hold a practice, he asks general manager John Nash to fetch another player.
For the third time this month, Nash obliged yesterday by signing guard Larry Robinson to a 10-day contract. Only last week, the struggling Bullets (16-40) did the same with guard Byron Irvin and center Alan Ogg after Rex Chapman (ankle) and Pervis Ellison (knee) joined guard Doug Overton (thumb) on the injured list.
Robinson, who played 12 games for the Bullets at the start of the 1990-91 season, became an emergency backcourt replacement for tonight's game in Charlotte after LaBradford Smith was left home to nurse a swollen left ankle. Smith is expected back for Friday's home game against the New York Knicks.
"At least Robinson has an idea of what kind of offense we like to run," Unseld said. "That's our biggest problem now. We've got no kind of continuity."
After finishing 1991 with Golden State and one game with Boston at the start of last season, Robinson has played for Rapid City in the Continental Basketball Association and also had a stint this summer with Levallois in the French Basketball League.
The slender 6-foot-5 guard from Centenary was averaging 16 points and 3.5 rebounds for division-leading Rapid City when he got called up.
"This proves there are still NBA teams interested in me," Robinson said. "I must be doing something right because I keep getting called up. But it's mostly a matter of being in the right place at the right time."
Robinson said he has improved his overall game since his previous trial with the Bullets.
"My outside shot is more consistent," he said. "I was one of the leading three-point shooters in the CBA."
The Bullets' makeshift roster now includes five CBA alumni, with point guard Michael Adams and Charles Jones as the most successful.
Overton, who came to the Bullets from Australia, could be ready to play later this week. He will have his thumb checked by his surgeon today.
Opponent: Charlotte Hornets
Site: Charlotte Coliseum
TV: Channel 20
Radio: WTOP (1500 AM)
Outlook: The injury-depleted Bullets have lost three straight and nine of their past 10. C Pervis Ellison (knee) and guards Rex Chapman (ankle) and Doug Overton (wrist) remain on injured list. G LaBradford Smith (ankle) did not make the trip. G Larry Robinson was signed to a 10-day contract. Washington is 5-25 on the road. Charlotte (31-26) is trying to solidify its first playoff berth. Larry Johnson leads the team in scoring (22.8) and rebounding (10.5), closely followed by rookie Alonzo Mourning, averaging 19.3 points and 10.4 rebounds. Baltimore Dunbar product Muggsy Bogues is averaging 9.4 assists. The Hornets won the first three meetings this season.