Ruland Mulling Lawsuit That Was No Accident That Caused Injury, He Says

Posted: January 27, 1992

Jeff Ruland is expected to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging examination of his injured right leg today. In the meantime, he is mulling the possibility of legal action.

Before that, however, the 76ers' backup center must learn the extent of the damage, which is in the area of his Achilles' tendon and his calf.

All Ruland knows for sure is that he was hurt Jan. 17, in an incident outside the Boston Garden about an hour after the Sixers' 98-95 loss to the Celtics. While waiting to board the team bus, Ruland said he was hit from behind by the edge of a luggage cart directed by employees of the Celtics. He appeared in three games after the loss to Boston, then lasted just three minutes in Friday night's victory over Minnesota before limping off.

Ruland is believed to have a partial tear in either the upper part of the Achilles' tendon or in a calf muscle and has been placed on the injured list. He came to the Spectrum on crutches Saturday night to take treatment and watch his teammates defeat New Jersey, 115-94, and does not anticipate playing again until after the NBA's All-Star Game Feb. 9.

"It hurt all along, I felt stiff, I probably should have taken a few games off," Ruland said. "I'm thinking about pursuing legal action, but I have to determine who would be responsible. (Would it be) the guys pushing the luggage cart? The Celtics? The city of Boston? I have to look into that."

Ruland, 33, insisted that the current injury would not stop what has been a remarkable comeback. He rejoined the team Jan. 7 after being forced into retirement during the 1986-87 season because of a damaged left knee. He appeared in five games in '86-87 and already has played in nine this season, working under an unusual contract that pays him the the league-mininum salary of $130,000 on a prorated basis, plus $10,000 for each game in which he plays or is available to play.

"This won't stop me," Ruland said. "This had nothing to do with basketball. I got run over by a luggage cart. That's hard to swallow.

"I just remember it was about 10:15 that night, I was waiting to get on the bus. We were going to the airport to catch a charter flight to Baltimore, where we were playing (against Washington) the next night. My neighbor, who had been to the game, was there, saw the whole thing."

A freak accident?

"It can't be accidental, they were moving too fast," Ruland said. "I look at (my leg) now, I'm amazed I lasted as long as I did.

"(But) this just makes me even more determined (to play). My knee feels fine. Who ever could foresee anything like this happening?"

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