Jackson not on Lakers' bench for Game 4Posted: Sunday May 11, 2003 1:51 PM
Updated: Monday May 12, 2003 2:01 AM
Lakers assistant coach Jim Cleamons coached Sunday's game. The Lakers trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.
Jackson, 57, underwent surgery Saturday to open a blockage in his left anterior descending artery. Doctors said he was discharged from the hospital at about 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.
But they said it is "not appropriate" for him to be coaching yet. They recommended that he stay at home and said the decision was made jointly with Jackson and there was no argument from him.
Lakers players responded to their coach's absence before the game.
"We're fired up," Kobe Bryant said. "We're going to go out and play Lakers style basketball."
Dr. Phillip Frankel, who performed the angioplasty, said he encouraged the coach to avoid stress.
"I imagine it would be more stressful for him not to watch the game," Frankel said.
Doctors said Jackson plans to attend a team practice on Monday in Los Angeles. A decision on also is expected from physicians Monday on whether Jackson will travel with the three-time defending champions to San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday night.
"We will determine over the next 24 hours based on the obvious issues of how he feels and how things are going as to whether he's going to go to San Antonio," Frankel said.
Jackson had reported tightness and pain in his chest for several days before being admitted to the medical center. The procedure involved opening the artery with an angioplasty balloon and inserting a stent, a team statement said Saturday.
A stent is a mesh cylinder that is inserted into an artery around the angioplasty balloon. When the balloon is expanded, the mesh also expands and locks into place, keeping the artery open.
Frankel said the operation could not have been postponed.
"This type of thing would be fairly bad to ignore," Frankel said. "This is critical. That's why we proceeded right away."
Frankel offered a hopeful prognosis, noting that the blockage in Jackson's artery is an "isolated problem."
"Jackson's other arteries look great," Frankel said.
Jackson has coached nine championship teams, tying him with former Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach for the most in NBA history. Jackson's teams are 161-58 in the postseason for a record .735 winning percentage, and his 161 playoff wins are the most ever.
He coached the Chicago Bulls to six championships in nine years and is going for his fourth title in as many years with the Lakers.
"It will give them an emotional boost," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They'll be more than fired up. He's probably going to see things on TV that's going to drive him batty, but I hope for Phil's sake he relaxes and takes care of himself."
Cleamons spoke with Jackson after he was released from the hospital.
"He sounded fine. He'll be OK. Don't worry about him," Cleamons said 90 minutes before the opening tipoff at the Staples Center.
Even though Jackson had been ordered to rest, he gave the team a halftime telephone pep talk.
The Lakers responded by beating the San Antonio Spurs 99-95 to even their Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.
Earlier this season, Jackson missed three games because of a
kidney stone that was removed on Feb. 24. Before that, he had
coached 1,249 regular-season and playoff games without missing any
in nearly 13 seasons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.