Walton and Cowens Ponder an End to Retirement


Bill Walton and Dave Cowens, once dominant centers and most valuable players in the National Basketball Association, are considering playing professionally again.

Walton, who announced his retirement in March 1981 after he underwent major foot surgery the preceding January, has been playing recreational ball in the San Francisco area while finishing his first year at Stanford University Law School. According to close friends, Walton will meet soon with officials of the San Diego Clippers and intensify his training in the next few months to determine if his foot can withstand vigorous physical activity. If it does, Walton would be prepared to rejoin the Clippers, who have had him on the team's injured-reserve list.

"He told me a couple of months ago he would like to play again," Paul Silas, the Clipper coach, said yesterday, when asked about the 29-year-old Walton. "If it's true, I'll take him to camp and we'll see where it goes from there. I'd be delighted to have him."

As for Cowens, Red Auerbach, the Celtic president and general manager, has been telling other general managers that Cowens has been working out and is considering a return. Cowens retired from the Boston Celtics in October 1980. Cowens, now 33 years old, has been serving as athletic director at Regis College, a small women's school near Boston, and operating a basketball camps business.

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