BOWIE -- The pain was obvious as Washington Bullets forward Chris Webber maneuvered his body into the front seat of his sport utility vehicle yesterday. He's being told that his strained back could keep him out for up to 10 days.
"I hope that's not right," Webber said. "It's stiff, real stiff. Uncomfortable is probably the best example of how it feels."
That uncomfortable feeling frustrates Webber. After making his All-Star debut on Sunday, he was hoping to help the Bullets turn around their season. After missing much of the past two seasons with a shoulder injury, Webber was relatively injury-free until the fourth quarter of Tuesday's 97-92 loss to the visiting New York Knicks.
Replays show that after Webber grabbed a loose ball and attempted to lift his body, New York's Larry Johnson stepped on his left foot. That appeared to cause an abrupt jerk that strained his back, although Webber does not recall what happened.
"I didn't feel anything, and that's what worried me. Nobody bumped me and it wasn't a foul," Webber said. "It felt like I tried to pick up my feet and couldn't move. I kept trying to lift myself up."
The team is saying Webber might be out seven to 10 days (as many as five games), but he felt better when he came to the team's practice site yesterday for ice and electric stimulation treatment. The improvement was encouraging for new coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
"He was a little better, but we do have to have a backup plan," Bickerstaff said of the Bullets' next game, against the New Jersey Nets tomorrow at the Baltimore Arena.
Pub Date: 2/13/97