Something is wrong with Sean Elliott, and no one wants to say what the problem is.
A trade that sent Elliott from the Detroit Pistons to the Houston Rockets was voided Sunday when Elliott failed his physical. Robert Horry and Matt Bullard, who were ready to play for the Pistons on Saturday night, instead returned to Houston on Sunday to rejoin the Rockets.Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich would not say what part of the physical Elliott had failed, and Pistons president Tom Wilson refused to discuss what went wrong.
"I don't want to comment on that because it invades Sean's element of privacy," Wilson said. "But I can tell you that whatever the condition is, it doesn't prevent him from playing. In fact, we expect to have him on the floor tonight (at Atlanta)."
Elliott's agent, Bert Kinerek, did not return several phone calls.
"It's just a crazy world and a crazy business," Horry said upon his return to Houston.
"You get traded from the team and get traded to Detroit and think you're going to be a Piston," said Bullard, wearing a Pistons hat and carrying a Detroit duffel bag. "It's really hard to figure out what's going on.
"Obviously, you can't come back to a team that trades you and feel the same. Actions speak a lot louder than words."
Elliott, a 6-foot-8 forward, took a physical Saturday in Houston, then Rockets team physician Bruce Moseley requested additional tests.
According to NBA rules, all parties involved in a trade must pass physicals before the trade is completed.
"It ain't going to happen, so let's go on from here," Tomjanovich said.
"It's been a soap opera the last couple of days," added Mario Elie, who took Horry's spot in the lineup in the Minnesota game. "We have to try to put that behind us."
Horry and Bullard were with the Pistons on Saturday night when they lost at home to the Nets 107-100, but neither player was allowed to suit up. They returned to Houston too late to participate in the Rockets' 101-90 victory against Minnesota.
"I don't feel anything negative about these guys," Tomjanovich said of the two.
Horry's relationship with Tomjanovich began to deteriorate three weeks ago "when my minutes started to disappear," Horry said. "When he started playing Vernon Maxwell at small forward, I knew I was in trouble."
Maxwell is 6-foot-2.
"When we talked about the trade," Tomjanovich said, "I made it clear that it had nothing to do with Horry's failings, nothing to do with Matt's play. This was just a chance to get an All-Star caliber player. It's actually a tribute to Robert that they were willing to do that."
Horry was not excited that the trade fell through.
"Going back would be hard," Horry said. "We have new ownership and everything they do is really messed up. It's all new faces there. People have either quit, been fired or unhappy."
Elliott, who had knee surgery in high school, plays with braces on both knees. Last season, playing for the San Antonio Spurs, he missed 12 games because of back problems. He missed his last four games with the Pistons because of pneumonia.
Pistons coach Don Chaney said he was surprised to learn Elliott had failed the medical exam.
"I'd like to know for myself what the situation is before I make any statements," Chaney said.