MIAMI -- Pat Riley will resume coaching the Miami Heat
following the All-Star break, an official within the NBA said
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Riley has
not formally announced his plans. Riley is expected to announce his
return at a news conference Wednesday morning in Miami. His first
game back would be Feb. 21 at Houston.
Riley's decision was first reported by WTVJ television and on
the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Web site.
Riley left the team on Jan. 3 because of ongoing hip and knee
problems, both which required surgery. He had a procedure to repair
cartilage in his right knee on Jan. 5, then hip replacement surgery
Miami assistant coach Ron Rothstein will coach the Heat against
Portland on Tuesday night in their final game before the All-Star
Players were reportedly told of Riley's decision on Monday.
Saying he was "tired of the pain and the medication," the
61-year-old Riley decided to step away nearly six weeks ago to
address his health issues. The Heat were 13-17 when he left, plus
had been without center Shaquille O'Neal for much of the season
while he recovered from knee surgery.
But now, with six wins in their last seven games, the Heat could
get back to the .500 mark with a win Tuesday. And while a 25-26
record is hardly what Miami wanted at this point, the Heat are only
four games behind Washington in the Southeast Division.
"We had a very, very rough, very challenging start, mostly due
to our faults," O'Neal said Monday, hours before word broke that
Riley's return was imminent.
The Heat are not expected to practice Wednesday, while O'Neal
and All-Star teammate Dwyane Wade, along with 3-point shootout
competitor Jason Kapono, get ready to head to Las Vegas for the
The team could practice in Miami next Monday, the day after the
All-Star game, but it's unknown if Riley plans to run that session.
He is expected to fly with the team to Houston on Tuesday, coach
against the Rockets on Feb. 21, then at Dallas -- where the Heat won
last season's NBA title -- the next night. His first home game back
would be when Miami hosts Cleveland on Feb. 25.
Riley, who also is the Heat president, resigned as coach shortly
before the 2003-04 season, then returned to the bench in December
2005, replacing Stan Van Gundy and postponing his hip replacement.
In September, Riley said he didn't expect to need an operation this
season, but the pain soon became too much to bear.