Written by: Tom D’Angelo
MIAMI – Heat coach Erik Spoelstra traded e-mails and had conversations with some of his peers this season when Charlotte’s Steve Clifford took a medical leave of absence.
Those conversations likely will return now that a second coach has been forced to step aside because of health issues.
Cleveland’s Ty Lue, 40, announced Monday he would be taking a break to focus on his health. Three times this season Lue’s health has prevented him from coaching an entire game, including Saturday against the Bulls.
“It certainly is eye opening,” Spoelstra said. “It definitely catches your attention. I’m sure all the coaches stopped in their tracks when they saw that. It is a unique profession. There’s no way to simulate this in a normal world, it’s tough to prepare for it. You can talk about it all you want, you can go through any kind of preparation in the off season but there’s nothing like an eight month NBA season with all the travel, the demands, the expectations and all the personalities you have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Clifford, 56, missed more than a month this season to deal with health issues including severe headaches. Clifford, in his fifth season as Hornets coach, took time off in November 2013 to have two stents placed in his heart after experiencing chest pains.