In an interview with ESPN, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue revealed he is getting treated for anxiety and no longer has the health issues that forced him to leave the team for an extended period of time during the regular season.
Lue missed nine games during the regular season due to health issues.
On March 19, Lue and the Cavaliers announced that the head coach would be taking a leave of absence. Lue had experienced chest pain and even spat up blood, leaving him unable to coach the second half of several games during the regular season previous to his leave. During Lue’s time off, he rested and made several changes to his lifestyle, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
I think for the first time in my career, 20 years, I had a chance to focus on me. It wasn’t as bad as people thought it was. But I did have some chest pains for the last couple of years. And I was just trying to be able to get through it not knowing what was wrong with me. So the two weeks I took off, just finally had a chance to focus on myself and change my diet. Hired a chef. Stopped drinking as many Shirley Temples. And stopped with the sweets and got back to taking care of myself. Now I feel great.
In Lue’s absence, assistant coach Larry Drew guided the Cavaliers to an 8-1 record. Lue returned to the sideline April 5.
He revealed to ESPN that he no longer has chest pains or struggles sleeping thanks to his diet changes and medical treatment for anxiety.
Steve Kerr helped Tyronn Lue during his absence.
Though Kerr and Lue have coached against one another for the NBA championship two years in a row and will do so again starting Thursday night, Kerr reached out to Lue during the absence. Kerr, who has missed significant time himself due to complications from back surgery, quickly became one of Lue’s most prominent supporters among a variety of players, coaches and others around the association.
“When you’re in this position, you’re in the NBA, and you have your family and your friends and everybody you want to take care of and make sure they’re comfortable, you kind of lose sight of yourself and what it takes for you,” Lue said.
It’s been a tumultuous season for the Cavaliers.
Being directly involved with any NBA franchise is a stressful situation, but when you’re the head coach of a championship contender and the league’s biggest superstar, that pressure becomes even more immense.
The Cavaliers have had a whirlwind of a season to say the least. It started last summer with the dramatic trade of star point guard Kyrie Irving to conference rival Boston, Lue said. The team then made a ton of moves at the trade deadline and was forced to acclimate a handful of new players. There were ups and downs both on and off the court, and eventually Cleveland finished as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, tied for the lowest seed of LeBron James’ career since his second year in the league.
For Lue, it presented a challenging situation: He wanted to be there for his team during the whirlwind season, but he also needed to take care of himself.
“I think when you’re going through a tough season, tough stretch, it’s easy to say you’re going to bow out,” Lue said. “And I didn’t want to be that guy. It was tough. LeBron playing all 82 games, I wanted to be able to coach all the 82 games and give the team everything they needed.”
The NBA Finals are next.
Things get going between Lue’s Cavaliers and Kerr’s Warriors on Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Warriors are heavy favorites to win their second title in a row and third in four years, but they will be without do-it-all forward Andre Iguodala for at least Game 1.
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