Twelve days after announcing he’d be taking a leave of absence to address various health issues that have plagued him this season, keeping him from finishing several games, Tyronn Lue plans to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. But he won’t be coaching his team during their matchup against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans; for now, it seems, he’ll still just be watching.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lue will attend Friday’s game as a spectator, though “the plan is for him to hopefully ease his way back into a full-time coaching role over the Cavs’ four-game homestand that extends until Thursday.” This will reportedly be the first time he’s addressed the team since stepping aside on March 19.
Lue became the second NBA coach this season forced by failing health to take some time away. Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford required one that lasted a month earlier in the season, disclosing a lengthy battle with severe headaches and sleep deprivation. Clifford, 56, also had two stents put in his heart in November 2013.
When Lue, 40, announced that he’d be taking a step back, he described ongoing battles with “chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year.” Those troubling symptoms, according to Wojnarowski, “including coughing up blood.” Lue said at the time that he planned to “focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.” Thanks in part to a renewed focus on improving his diet and getting on a consistent exercise plan, he’s evidently moving closer to be able to return to the Cavs.
Associate head coach Larry Drew has stepped in for Lue over the past two weeks, though Lue has retained influence over lineup decisions. The Cavs have gone 5-1 since Lue stepped away, riding the brilliance of LeBron James to stay in third place in the Eastern Conference playoff race, a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers.
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