Lakers' Jackson walking with cane after hip surgery

Updated: October 5, 2006, 9:16 PM ET
Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson is recovering well following right hip replacement surgery and walking with a cane, assistant Kurt Rambis said Thursday.

Jackson underwent the operation Tuesday at the Centinela Hospital Medical Center, and was discharged from the hospital a day later.

Rambis said that Jeanie Buss, Jackson's longtime girlfriend, told him the 61-year-old coach was walking with a cane. Buss is the Lakers' executive vice president of business operations and the daughter of team owner Jerry Buss.

"That's pretty good improvement," Rambis said. "He's more upright, too, which is probably something hard to believe."

Rambis has been running practice in Jackson's absence and will continue to do so until Jackson's return.

"His timetable is up to him and how well he heals," Rambis said regarding Jackson's return to the team. Jackson told reporters on Monday -- a day before the start of training camp -- that he expects to be on the bench Oct. 31, when the Lakers open the season against Phoenix.

Meanwhile, the Lakers continued to work on defense, and sprinkled in some of the triangle offense Thursday. There were times during a scrimmage that Tex Winter, the team's basketball consultant who is considered the guru of the triangle offense, stopped the action and pointed out mistakes.

"Whether [Jackson] is here or not, there's a learning process that we have to go through with these guys," Rambis said. "We've got a bunch of guys trying to learn the offense, guys learning how to play together. So, its a process."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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