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Ligaments reattached in Webber's shoulder 'Excellent chance' for full recovery


Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber was described as being in good spirits last night after undergoing two hours of surgery yesterday to repair his injured left shoulder.

The surgery was performed in New York at the Hospital for Special Surgery by Dr. Russell Warren. Bullets team doctor Steven Haas attended the surgery.

"It went really well," said Fallasha Erwin, Webber's agent. "He was drugged when he came out and didn't say much, but he was in good spirits. Going in, he was a little apprehensive."

Warren said the ligaments in Webber's shoulder were reattached to the bone and tightened.

"I think the chances are excellent to achieve a stable shoulder," the surgeon said. "With a good repair and a good rehab, he should have an excellent chance of coming back like he was in the past.

"He can get back where he has good confidence in the shoulder and not think about it. There's an excellent chance he can get back and play at a high level and not worry about this."

Webber will be released from the hospital today. He will be in a sling for four weeks, followed by four weeks of rehabilitation and eight weeks of strength training.

"By June, he should be playing full bore," Erwin said. "If [the Bullets] make the finals, I guarantee that Chris will be there."

Webber's father, Mayce, flew in from Detroit to offer support. His mother, Doris, is scheduled to arrive in New York today when Webber is released.

"When he came out, he was talking about the team and getting back to work," Mayce Webber said of his son. "He loves the game. He's really proud of what he does, and he loves to play. He could have collected the money and had his surgery earlier, but he went out and tried. He wanted the team to know that he was there to work and not to fool around."

Before the surgery Webber and his father talked to Dr. Warren, who explained the procedure of tightening the arm so the shoulder doesn't come out of socket. Once Webber separated his shoulder the second time during a preseason game in Indiana, doctors told him the chances of it happening again were greatly increased.

"I was a little nervous before I spoke to the doctor, but after he explained the procedure and said that there was just a 3 percent chance of it happening again, I was pleased," the elder Webber said.

Although Webber was effective during his 15 games this season and could have continued to play, Bullets coach Jim Lynam said after yesterday's practice that he had made the right decision.

"He would have been a big player as a part-time player but, in hindsight, I agree with the decision," Lynam said. "He had a tough decision to make, and now it's a fact. If I had to make the decision, I think that's the route I would have taken. It would have been tough to have that linger for a third season."

The Bullets were 9-6 with Webber, but also played well before he returned in November.

"We've played well with guys in and out of the lineup, and there's no reason why that can't continue," Lynam said.

NOTE: With Mark Price out with a broken bone in his right foot, the Bullets yesterday signed point guard Greg Grant to a 10-day contract. This will be the sixth NBA team in six years for Grant, a 5-foot-7 guard who was a second-round pick of the Phoenix Suns in 1989. Grant began last season in the CBA, and finished it with the Denver Nuggets. He played in 11 games with the Philadelphia 76ers this season before returning to the CBA. Lynam doesn't expect Grant to play against the Portland Trail Blazers tonight. Brent Price has played well as the starting point guard. . . . Bullets guard Tim Legler was to be in San Antonio for All-Star Weekend, participating in the three-point shootout. But Legler had a problem: the shootout is set for Feb. 10, one day after his wife's due date. So, because the Bullets had a stretch of six days off this week, Legler and his wife decided to induce labor. That inducement began Wednesday and, after 15 hours of labor, Lauren Nicole Legler was born at 1:18 a.m. yesterday.

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