The long road to recovery ends tomorrow night in Rochester for dynamic Toronto Rock forward Kim Squire.
Rock general manager/ coach Les Bartley said yesterday the 23-year-old will play tomorrow for the first time since being diagnosed with the potentially deadly flesh-eating disease (officially called necrotizing fascitis) Nov. 3,
The National Lacrosse League game pits the Rochester Knighthawks (7-4) against the Rock (10-3).
\"We\'ll ease (Squire) in,\" Bartley said. \"He\'ll just play five-on-five and we\'ll see where his stamina is. He\'s such a diehard player and he can score every time he steps on the floor.\"
Squire had three surgeries, including an emergency procedure, after the diagnosis. He picked up the disease after cutting his right hand with a kitchen knife Nov. 1. Shortly after the surgeries, Shirley Squire, Kim\'s mother, said: \"Another 12 hours and we could have lost him.\"
The targeted date for Squire\'s return was next Friday, but injuries to Pat Jones, Todd Richard and a one-game suspension to Glenn Clark convinced Bartley to bring the fan favourite back a week earlier. Squire\'s attitude seemed to improve after a 30-minute conversation with Bartley last Tuesday. A week before that, the five-year Rock veteran missed practice and some observers questioned his commitment.
After talking to Bartley, Squire agreed to go for a physical, which he passed last Thursday. He warmed up with the team before a game last Friday at the Air Canada Centre. \"I see that fire in his tank again,\" Bartley said.
Still, Squire has to prove he deserves to be on the floor come playoff time.
\"We need to see him for a game or two to see what our best lineup is,\" Bartley said.
Squire might not be the only new face in the lineup tomorrow. Sources say the Rock is close to acquiring Chris Driscoll, the NLL\'s second-leading scorer this season, from the lowly New York Saints. Bartley and Saints owner/general manager Mike Gongas will converse this morning.
\"I\'m optimistic (a trade will be made),\" Gongas said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Rock goalie Bob Watson is doubtful to play because of a sinus infection. Anthony Cosmo will start.