Injured Los Angeles Lakers starters James Worthy and Byron Scott are questionable for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night at the Great Western Forum. Both players attended practice Monday but did not participate. Worthy's injury is believed to be the more serious. He sustained a badly sprained left ankle when Portland center Kevin Duckworth rolled on his leg in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Scott bruised his right shoulder Sunday in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Worthy is averaging 19.3 points in the championship series, but his play has declined and Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy removed him from Sunday's game late in the third quarter.
"It's frustrating because I'm not 100 percent, and I'm not a good player at playing hurt," Worthy said. "I depend on my quickness and my athletic ability, and I'm not able to run the fastbreak, and it affects my ability to explode to the basket. I can't defend the way I'd like to."
Worthy listed his status as "day-to-day."
Teammate Magic Johnson said he doesn't think Worthy should play.
"I think James is definitely out," Johnson said. "Even if he plays, he should be out. He's hurting. He's limping. He can't really be James, so he should almost just sit."
Scott said he still has pain in his shooting shoulder.
"We'll just have to see," he said Monday. "It's a little stiffer than it was (Sunday). I don't have any idea at this point whether I will play. I don't know what to think or expect."
Scott has struggled in the championship series. Averaging 4.5 points, he went 115 minutes and 23 seconds between baskets before scoring with 10:50 left in the third quarter in Game 4.
Neither is a center of attention
The last time a team won an NBA title with a starting center who averaged less than 10 points a game was 1978, when Washington won with Wes Unseld averaging 7.6.
Bulls center Bill Cartwright is averaging 9.6 points and Lakers center Vlade Divac 11.2.
The last time the Lakers trailed 3-1 in a playoff series, they were eliminated by the Phoenix Suns. It was 106-103 at the Forum last year. Bulls guard John Paxson made his first turnover in the series Sunday in 126 minutes of play. He has 13 assists. The Bulls have won two consecutive post-season games here after losing their first 13 at the Forum from 1968 through 1973. The Bulls lost four playoff series to Los Angeles in that span.
_ JOHN HARRIS