SAN DIEGO — For two weeks in January, Ade Coker could not even walk around his house. But tonight at the Sports Arena, Coker will be back in action as he makes his first appearance in 22 games when the Sockers play Wichita at 7:35.
Since the end of 1984, Coker has been an example of the premise that everything that can go wrong will go wrong at one time or another. It's just that everything happened to him at once.
On Dec. 29, Coker left the Sockers' game at Baltimore with a sprained knee. But the worst was yet to come.
Eight days later, he woke up with what he thought was a stomach ache. It was much more than that. As it turned out, he needed to have an appendectomy.
"My stomach was hurting real bad in one area," Coker said. "Then, it started hurting all over. I called my doctor and explained it. He said, 'Get your butt to the hospital.' "
That was only part of Coker's frustration. He later developed an infection from the appendectomy, keeping him in bed for two weeks.
Coker has been practicing with the Sockers for the last couple of weeks. Coach Ron Newman deemed Coker fit for tonight's game after watching him closely the last two days.
"He looks a yard slower than everyone else," Newman said. "That's to be expected. The skill is still there. He just needs to get his timing and strength back."
Newman plans on having Coker take shorter shifts for a few games.
"It's just a matter of playing it by ear," Newman said. "We'll see when I become confident that he can contribute to the team and won't hurt us. I don't expect him to win any games for us now. He will down the line."
The Socker injury situation is beginning to improve. Brian Quinn will return from a hyperextended knee tonight and Kaz Deyna may come back from a sprained knee.
But the defense will still be short-handed for a while without Gary Collier (broken left ankle), Paulo Moura (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Brian Schmetzer (broken right foot).
"We hope to have Moura and Schmetzer practicing just before the playoffs begin," Newman said. "That way, they would be available for the playoffs if we needed them."