Wichita State basketball player Ron Baker needs both his shoes for the first time in six weeks. He is off crutches and out of his walking boot and ready to take slow steps toward taking faster steps.
“It feels good to be walking on two feet,” he said.
His return to the court is still weeks away. A stress fracture in his left footed sidelined Baker, a redshirt freshman from Scott City, since mid-December. He started 10 games before the injury and hasn’t played since a Dec. 13 game at Tennessee. He plans to start running the week of Feb. 10. How the foot reacts will determine how quickly he can play.
“Right now I don’t have any pain,” he said. “I can put my whole body weight on it without a problem.”
Baker is doing water exercises, calf raises, stretching and range of motion therapy. The fracture is to his navicular, a bone on top of the mid-foot, a common injury for athletes. How it will react to more activity is unknown.
“My stress fracture is in a part of my foot that doesn’t get a lot of blood supply, so it’s hard for it to heal,” he said.
Baker averaged 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds before the injury. He is one of four WSU starters to miss games this season. Centers Carl Hall and Ehimen Orukpe are back in uniform. Forward Evan Wessel is out for the season after having surgery on his broken right pinky finger.
The 15th-ranked Shockers (19-3, 8-2 Missouri Valley Conference) play at Northern Iowa (11-11, 4-6) on Saturday.