A key Laker to have surgery

Kurt —  September 30, 2006

Before this week, when I served on a jury for a “trip and fall” case, I knew nothing about hip replacement surgery. Now I know plenty (for a layman). And that makes me appreciate what Phil Jackson is about to go through even more,

Just watching Laker games last season it was pretty clear his hip was bothering him, and if that got to the point it was not just getting in and out of folding chairs courtside that was painful but also it was impacting his daily life, the hip replacement surgery he gets next Tuesday is the best thing. The surgery itself takes two or three hours (depending on the exact type of replacement) and there is plenty of rehab, but for a healthy person they can return to doing almost anything in a few months. Jackson is expected to be back on the sidelines by the start of the season.

There are things they ask people with hip replacements not to do for a while, like get in and out of chairs where your knees are above your waist. For most of us, that just means avoiding really soft couches. For the lanky Jackson, that could also include sitting unaided in those courtside chairs. I’m curious if and how he deals with that.

As for the team, the other coaches will be running the show as a unit. With all of them having been in Phil’s system for years, plus Rambis and Hamblin having head coaching experience, I don’t expect that will be much of a problem.

Good luck Phil!

to A key Laker to have surgery

  1. The return of Jim Clemons will be a big factor in camp this year with Jackson in recovery.


  2. Best wishes to Phil for a smooth surgery and speedy recovery.


  3. So Phil has decided to recover on company time?
    Seriously,this is terrible timing. The Lakers are still a young team trying to learn both a complicated offense and how to play solid team defense. Not having the overiding voice of the head coach present during training camp is going to set the Lakers back and most likely cause some winnable games to be lost early.


  4. If Phil were an “X and O” coach who was more hands on in teaching technique I’d be concerned, but from all accounts he looks to his assistants for much of that. Phil is more about the big picture stuff. I don’t see this being a big deal.


  5. From the silver lining dept.:

    Phil being absent could also allow for veterans to step into the void and establish some voices other than Phil’s (and the assistants) to be heard. Players learning from other players has always been a part of good coaching.

    Phil will probably like this aspect of the timing of his surgery, as he likes his players to rely on teammates and themselves rather than him, especially in times of crisis.

    On a side note… Took my 90 year old Grandma to a week ago Saturday’s Dodger game and even though they lost, we were allowed through some connections to visit Tommy Lasorda’s box and have a brief meet and greet with him. Like him or not he treated my grandma with all the respect in the world. You couldn’t get the smile off her face.


  6. I for one would love to see him
    roling around the court
    in one of those little electric Rascals
    pimped out in Forum blue and gold.

    Beep-beep, Laker Girls.


  7. he is not a young man, and given his medical history i imagine his doctors decided to post pone this surgery until he was stronger, and had recouperated from a long season.

    besides, no loving from jeanie while you’re on your summer vacation…are you kidding, i’d of waited too.


  8. Phil Jackson has a special courtside chair that we made for him last year. It is an adjustable-height folding chair. It keeps him propped up so his knees stay in an open flex position. The chair will be available for players starting in early 2007. The chair, called LaunchPad, operates using gas cylinders. Owner and inventor, Lee V. Alderman.