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Jackson Rejoins Lakers After Angioplasty
The Associated Press
May 12 2003 3:10PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Coach Phil Jackson rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, two days after undergoing a heart procedure, and will travel to San Antonio for Game 5 of their playoff series against the Spurs.
``He was here early this morning, met with the coaches, went over videotape,'' team spokesman John Black said. ``He's in a great mood. Considering what he went through, he's in remarkable shape.''
Black said Jackson would speak with reporters following practice - before the flight to San Antonio for Tuesday night's game in the Western Conference semifinal series.
Jackson underwent an angioplasty Saturday to open his left anterior artery, which was over 90 percent blocked. He was released from Centinela Hospital Medical Center on Sunday morning but watched the Lakers' 99-95 victory over the Spurs on television at his home.
It was the first postseason game Jackson has missed in his 13-year career as an NBA head coach. His teams have won a record 25 straight playoff series and nine championships, equaling the record of former Boston coach Red Auerbach.
Assistant Jim Cleamons filled in for Jackson on Sunday. By winning, the three-time defending NBA champion Lakers tied the Spurs 2-2 in the best-of-seven series.
Jackson had experienced tightness and pain in his chest for about a week. He underwent some testing Friday but coached the team to a 110-95 victory that night.
Testing was completed Saturday when it was decided he needed the angioplasty.
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.
He guided the Chicago Bulls to six championships during the 1990s and the Lakers to titles in his three seasons so far as their coach.