Coleman To Rest Pinkie For A While Expects To Return After All-star Break

Posted: January 31, 1997

Derrick Coleman won't have a hand in the 76ers' game tonight against the Orlando Magic. No pun intended.

The Sixers' power forward, who suffered a laceration of his left pinkie Jan. 8, said yesterday that the finger felt ``terrible'' and that ``I won't be playing until after the All-Star break.''

That means that Coleman, the team's No. 3 scorer and leading rebounder, will miss at least the next three games, leading up to the Feb. 9 All-Star Game in Cleveland.

The Sixers play in Milwaukee Saturday night and at home Wednesday night against San Antonio before the break. They resume their schedule Feb. 11 in Cleveland.

``We'll just take a wait-and-see approach, but if he feels he can't contribute, if he feels he's a detriment to the team, then we'll just go to the next guy,'' said coach Johnny Davis, who already had left the Sixers' practice facility when Coleman made his brief comments to reporters.

Coleman, who was injured when he attempted to block a shot by Dallas's Oliver Miller and caught his finger on the rim, needed 10 to 12 stitches to close the wound.

He sat out nine games, then appeared for 19 minutes off the bench in Wednesday night's 101-99 victory over the Toronto Raptors. He shot 1-for-6 from the floor, scored two points and took three rebounds.

``I thought the finger bothered him,'' Davis said. ``Then, too, I thought his conditioning was a factor as well. Obviously, we need him and miss him, but if he can't perform, we have no other choice.''

This was the latest development in what has been a difficult stretch for Coleman. He was fined a game's pay (slightly less than $82,927) for not attending Saturday night's game against Detroit after flying on the team charter, then was fined $1,000 for missing Monday's practice when weather conditions delayed his commercial flight to Philadelphia.

With Coleman out, Davis has used Jerry Stackhouse as the starter at small forward, moving Clarence Weatherspoon to the power position and inserting Rex Walters at shooting guard.

At 10-33, the Sixers have won just three of their last 28 games and one of their last 13 at home.

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