<
>

D'Antoni's debut still TBD

11/19/2012

Mike D'Antoni limped around the court at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility Monday, barking out instructions to his players in his Southern twang, while his crutch remained propped up against the scorer's table at center court.

He isn't completely done with the crutch; he used it to walk off the court and into the locker room after speaking to the media. But it was a sign of progress. During his first day with the Lakers last week, he was working his way around the court with the aid of two crutches.

D'Antoni has managed to make it through several practices since joining the team, but he's yet to coach a game. It will be a game-time decision Tuesday when the Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets whether D'Antoni will finally assume his seat on the sideline, or leave it up to interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff again.

"It’s a lot better," D'Antoni said of his health after undergoing knee replacement surgery at the beginning of the month. "Every day it gets tenfold better. Hopefully because of that I’ll be ready to go soon."

The 61-year-old coach intended to take over for the first time Sunday, but opted against it a few hours before tip-off. He told reporters Monday he didn't want to make the same mistake again and offer up a definitive answer on whether he'll coach against the Nets and have to potentially go back on his word.

"I’m anxious to go," D'Antoni said. "Watching the game in the back (in the trainer's room) is driving me crazy. I suffer more back there than I would on the floor.

"I just want to make sure it’s right. Bernie does a great job, so there’s no hurry on my part. Just when I’m 100 percent, I’m ready to go.

“Just got to make sure my stamina is up there."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.