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Saturday, May 10
Updated: May 11, 11:26 PM ET
 
Jackson planning to attend practice Monday

Associated Press

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Coach Phil Jackson missed the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday as he recovered from a heart procedure.

Team doctors announced Jackson would miss the Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal early Sunday. Assistant Jim Cleamons coached the team while Jackson recuperated at home. The Lakers won 99-95 to even the series 2-2.

"In consultation with Phil, we decided it was not appropriate for him to be coaching today,'' said Dr. John Moe, a cardiologist at Centinela Hospital Medical Center and primary internist for the Lakers.

No announcement of Jackson missing the game or Cleamons coaching the team was made to the crowd at Staples Center.

The 57-year-old Jackson was released from the hospital Sunday morning, one day after undergoing an angioplasty. He had experienced tightness and pain in his chest for about a week. The procedure unblocked an artery leading to Jackson's heart.

Doctors said Jackson plans to attend a team practice on Monday in Los Angeles. A decision 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.

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.''

Rookie guard Jannero Pargo said: "I had no idea how serious it was. We're just going to go out there and play the game as if he was on the bench.''

Dr. Phillip Frankel, who performed the angioplasty, encouraged the coach to avoid stress.

"I imagine it would be more stressful for him not to watch the game,'' Frankel said.

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 a "isolated problem.''

"Jackson's other arteries look great,'' Frankel said.

During an angioplasty, cardiologists thread a balloon into the clogged coronary artery and inflate it to push the blockage aside. A stent, or wire-mesh scaffolding, often is inserted to help keep the artery from further blockages. That was the case for Jackson.

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 Staples Center.

Even though Jackson has been ordered to rest, Cleamons said he expected the coaching staff would hear from the coach at halftime.

"I'll respect his decision, and then we'll roll with it,'' Cleamons said.

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.

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