Saturday, May 10
May 11, 11:26 PM ET
Jackson planning to attend practice Monday
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
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
"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
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
"He sounded fine. He'll be OK. Don't worry about him,''
Cleamons said 90 minutes before the opening tipoff at Staples
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,''
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.