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Jackson Couldn't Take Pain

Lakers coach put off hip surgery because of daughters' marriages over the summer.

October 01, 2006|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

Phil Jackson referred to his pain as "debilitating" in the first comments made by the Lakers coach since it was announced he would undergo replacement surgery on his right hip.

Jackson, 61, has walked with a limp for years but felt his condition was worsening during the summer at his home in Montana.

He will have the procedure done Tuesday at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center in Inglewood. Lakers officials have not established a timetable for his return, but a team spokesman said Jackson is expected back before the season opener Oct. 31 against Phoenix.

"The pain got debilitating this summer," Jackson wrote Saturday in an e-mail. "Could only exercise thru swimming, which I enjoy immensely on the lake outside my doors. Pain management become the issue of the day, but with two marriages of daughters this summer, kept my eye on the prize until I could get back here after Labor Day and go thru some diagnostics."

Kurt Rambis will serve as head coach in Jackson's absence. The Lakers begin training camp Tuesday and have eight exhibition games, opening Oct. 10 against Utah at Fresno.

Jackson, who played 12 seasons for the New York Knicks, has felt hip and back discomfort for years and initially thought it was the latter that caused the most pain this summer.

"Thought it was [the] back, as nerve radiation down leg was primary discomfort," he wrote. "But after checking out both Spinal Institute and Arthritis Institute's primary docs, they conferred and suggested that hip was first choice to make change."

Jackson also has had extreme discomfort in his left hip and could have it replaced after the season.

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