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Just The Sports: Riley Takes Leave Of Absence

Just The Sports

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Riley Takes Leave Of Absence

Following Dwyane Wade's potentially season-ending shoulder injury, Miami Heat head coach Pat Riley has decided to take a leave of absence from his coaching duties until he can once again step in to coach a healthy Heat team after forcing one of his underlings to coach an injury-depleted roster.

"I'm not going to lie," Riley said. "My passion to coach is directly tied to whether or not my two stars, Wade and Shaq, are both healthy at the same time. If they're not, then I am more than happy to come up with a flimsy excuse for why I'm unable to perform my coaching duties."

Riley, this season, has already had knee surgery in an attempt to avoid coaching the Heat without center Shaquille O'Neal and in a stroke of pure uncoincidence timed his return perfectly to O'Neal's return from injury.

"Everyone around me kept telling me that I should have the surgeries during the off-season so that I wouldn't miss any coaching time," Riley stated. "But I kept telling them that with an injury-prone Shaq, I should wait for him to go down before I tried to do anything about my knee and hip. That way, I could just blame the losses they tried to pin to my win-loss record on a poor job by my assistant coach, Ron Rothstein. And it worked out just like I planned."

Stan Van Gundy, who was forced into retirement by Pat Riley last year so that Riley could coach the Miami Heat, said that Riley's latest leave of absence from the team comes as no surprise. "Anyone who saw how he blamed me for going 11-10 last year when Shaq only played three games for me and then took credit for going 41-20 with a healthy team knows that this is the kind of coach Riley has become. Not there when the best players aren't, but more than happy to coach when they return to the court."



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