There were games during the recently completed season when Maurice Cheeks coached the 76ers wearing one shoe and either just a sock or a sock and some sort of slipper on his left foot. The second shoe just wouldn't fit over a painful, swollen foot, the result of a case of gout.

Cheeks fought through the situation and took the Sixers to 40 victories and their first NBA playoff berth in three seasons. Tomorrow, he will be part of "Time Out For Gout," a media briefing in New York to promote the second annual Gout Awareness Day, sponsored by the Gout & Uric Acid Education Society (GUAES).

Gout is a common, painful form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, causing swollen, reddening, stiff joints, often initially affecting the big toe but also ankles, heels, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows.

Cheeks will be on hand with two medical specialists: Dr. N. Lawrence Edwards, a specialist in rheumatology and professor of medicine at the University of Florida; and Dr. H. Ralph Schumacher Jr., professor of medicine at Penn and chief of rheumatology at Philadelphia's VA Medical Center. *

- Phil Jasner