Steve Lavin misses second game

NEW YORK -- St. John's men's basketball coach Steve Lavin missed the Red Storm's game against St. Francis (N.Y.) at Carnesecca Arena on Tuesday night.

"At this point in the recovery process, I am pleased to be cancer-free," Lavin said in a statement released by the school. "With my recuperation process in mind, I am continuing on a modified schedule in an effort to enhance my stamina and energy level. I will work in concert with coach [Mike] Dunlap and our staff as we continue to develop our basketball team."

The Red Storm beat St. Francis, 63-48, with assistant coach Mike Dunlap at the helm.

"I'm like a mother hen, I watch him very closely, and I could anticipate that this probably was gonna happen," said Dunlap after the game. "Because he came back with a vengeance, and those two games back-to-back ... that took a lot out of him. And trying to rally today was just too hard."

After being on the bench for St. John's losses to Arizona and Texas A&M last Thursday and Friday at Madison Square Garden, Lavin spent Saturday and Sunday on the recruiting trail, watching former commits JaKarr Sampson and Amir Garrett.

"I was definitely surprised," said freshman forward Moe Harkless, about learning that Lavin would be absent Tuesday night. "But I think he might have needed this day to rest because he's just been going so hard in practice the past couple days. And he's still recovering. He's a strong guy, but sometimes you just gotta rest."

Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6, and was subsequently away from the team for more than a month. He missed St. John's regular season opener against William & Mary on Nov. 7, but coached the Red Storm two nights later against Lehigh, and the team's next three games as well.

Dunlap said he is unsure of when Lavin will return to the team. St. John's next game is on Saturday against Northeastern, again at Carnesecca Arena.

"I think we've gone off of feel. And so I don't have that answer," said Dunlap. "But the material I've read, all the people I've talked to that have been through that operation, there's a bit of up and down in terms of the energy levels for a good two months, if not three.

"All of his results, from his markers on his blood to everything else, is A-plus. [But] this coaching thing is straight-up energy."

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.