Rodman Too Sick to Sign One-Year Contract

Times News Services

Dennis Rodman has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago Bulls, but he didn't finish taking his physical examination Friday because of bronchitis and a touch of pneumonia, General Manager Jerry Krause said.

Rodman returned to California and will not accompany the defending NBA champions to Paris for next week's McDonald's Championship. The Bulls already are without all-star forward Scottie Pippen, who underwent foot surgery Monday and will be out up to three months.

Krause had scheduled a news conference before Friday night's exhibition opener against Seattle, but he canceled it abruptly when he got the news about Rodman, the league's six-time rebounding leader.

Rodman wasn't available for comment.

Krause said Rodman's knee, which was injured late last season, "is fine," and said the flamboyant forward "is expected to return to Chicago for the completion of his physical and to sign his contract when the team returns from Paris."

Coach Phil Jackson expects a big year from Rodman--when he's finally able to play.

"I think Dennis knows that this is an opportunity for him to stand up behind a year which was marred with not just suspensions but also injuries that cost him a lot of games," Jackson said.

"What we really want Dennis to do is play 70, 75 games for us. He's going to have to stay healthy and he's going to have to stay in a position where he's not suspended or kicked out of games."

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Larry Bird's coaching debut couldn't have been much tougher: He lost a game and two players.

The Indiana Pacers lost first-round draft pick Austin Croshere for six weeks to a broken hand and Antonio Davis to a sprained left ankle. They also lost their exhibition opener, 105-98, to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Dayton, Ohio.

"There's nothing you can do about injuries in this league," Bird said matter-of-factly. "I've know that for a lot of years."

Before the game, Bird figured his biggest adjustment would be getting used to sitting on the bench in a suit coat. In no time at all, he had more troubling things to squirm about.

Croshere, the 12th pick overall who didn't miss a game in four years at Providence, got into the game in the second quarter and came out two minutes later with a broken left hand suffered while going for a rebound.

Davis was helped off the court in the third quarter, when he sprained his ankle severely enough that he couldn't put any weight on it. It's unclear how long he'll be sidelined.

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The Pacers are looking into reports that an Orlando, Fla., woman suffered a broken jaw when she was attacked in an apartment where forward Dale Davis stayed during training camp.

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A dispute between general managers Ernie Grunfeld of New York and Bob Whitsitt of Portland held up the Chris Dudley-John Wallace trade for another day until an arbitrator ruled in the Knicks' favor Friday. It was the second major conflict between the GMs since the trade was first agreed to Aug. 19.

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