Steve Lavin absent from bench again

St. John's men's basketball coach Steve Lavin was absent again Saturday when the Red Storm lost 78-64 to Northeastern.

Lavin also missed Tuesday night's win over St. Francis (N.Y.), as he continues to recover from prostate cancer surgery. But he did participate in team practices this week.

"Naturally, I have to continue to be mindful of my stamina and how I utilize energy as I recuperate from surgery," Lavin said in a statement released by the school. "I am working closely with our staff and players as we continue to build our team in preparation for the rigors of conference play.

"We are fortunate to have a first-rate group of assistants with the experience, expertise and basketball acumen to move us forward during this period of recovery. I am confident we won't miss a beat."

Assistant coach Mike Dunlap leads the team in Lavin's absence.

Lavin underwent prostate cancer surgery Oct. 6, and was away from the team for more than a month.

Lavin also missed St. John's regular-season opener against William & Mary Nov. 7. But he returned for the Red Storm's game two nights later against Lehigh, and coached the team's next three games as well.

"The most recent blood work from this past week indicates that I am cancer-free and progressing nicely," Lavin said. "I will continue on a modified schedule as we move down the line toward a full recovery."

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.