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Assistant Coach Says He Feels OK

January 28, 2002

PHILADELPHIA — Laker assistant Tex Winter was hospitalized for about three hours Sunday afternoon after having what doctors suspected was an acid reflux reaction to food.

A Philadelphia 76er team physician subsequently discovered Winter had an irregular heartbeat, according to a Laker spokesman.

Winter, 79, was released from Methodist Hospital Sunday night and flew to Washington, where the Lakers are to be honored at the White House today by President Bush for last season's NBA championship.

"I'm OK," Winter said from the hospital. "I feel fine."

It was Winter's second trip to the hospital in two weeks. His wife, Nancy, recently took him to the emergency room for a similar reaction to spicy food. He ate hot sauce after the Lakers' loss to the 76ers on Sunday afternoon.

Winter no longer travels with the club full time, but is on the five-game trip because, in part, it includes today's visit to Washington.

He is expected to have more tests when he returns to Los Angeles.

About 30 minutes after the game, Laker trainer Gary Vitti was summoned to the coaches' room, located across a small hallway from the visitors' locker room, where Winter was in distress. Vitti treated Winter until doctors arrived.

Winter was alert and sitting up when he was loaded into an ambulance, and a handful of players and coaches stood by as the doors closed behind him. Accompanied by owner Jerry Buss' son, Jim, Winter was taken to the hospital while the rest of the team bused to Washington.


Sunday's loss, the Lakers' sixth in nine games, meant Phil Jackson missed by one victory the duty of coaching the Western Conference in the NBA All-Star game.

Don Nelson, whose Dallas Mavericks won by 21 points against the Clippers on Saturday in Los Angeles, goes instead.

The game is Feb. 10 in Philadelphia, during a stretch in which the Lakers play twice in 10 days, both at home.

"You know, what does a coach do in the All-Star game? Monitor the minutes, send a guy in and send the guys out again," Jackson said Sunday. "I think baseball does it right [World Series participants manage the game]. But still it's not this crazy stuff all the way down to the end. Are you going? Are you not going? You don't know if you're going. It's the only break you have in the season for four days, and you can't even make plans to go to Cabo."

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, both voted into the starting lineup, will represent the Lakers at Philadelphia.


O'Neal played with a pad and sleeve on his left knee, which was sore.... Allen Iverson suffered a bruise on his lower left back when he landed on camera equipment under one basket. He did not play the final 2:17 of the first half, but returned to play all 24 minutes of the second.

Tim Brown

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