Heat assistant Keith Smart on leave for skin cancer treatment

Miami Heat assistant coach Keith Smart is stepping away from his duties for the second time this season to undergo treatment for a rare form of skin cancer, a team official confirmed Tuesday.

Smart, 51, initially left the team in mid-December and returned Jan. 11 after what was deemed to be successful treatment of the cancer that surfaced on the left side of his jaw.

The Heat did not offer a timeframe for how long Smart is expected to be away for this latest round of treatment.

The Miami Herald first reported Smart's latest absence from the team.

When he returned to the bench during the team's six-game Western Conference trip earlier this month, Smart told reporters that all of his pathology reports "came back clear" and he was thankful the team's medical staff caught the cancer early.

"I never felt anything," Smart told the Palm Beach Post three weeks ago. "I was just away. There were no symptoms or anything. I'm my same self I was before the surgery. It's a very, very rare type [of cancer] ... but I'm in the clear."

Smart had returned during the most difficult stretch of the season for Miami, which had lost eight games before Monday's 89-84 victory against the Chicago Bulls. The Heat finish their current five-game trip with games Tuesday night at the Brooklyn Nets and Friday at the Milwaukee Bucks.

This is Smart's second season as an assistant on coach Erik Spoelstra's staff, but he has served as a head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings in previous NBA stops.