Warriors coach Don Nelson sick with pneumonia, won’t travel with team for 2 games in Texas

By Janie Mccauley, AP
Monday, November 23, 2009

Warriors coach Don Nelson sick with pneumonia

OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson has pneumonia and isn’t traveling with the team for two games in Texas.

The 69-year-old Nelson, the second-winningest coach in NBA history, missed practice Sunday and again Monday. The team said he had been diagnosed with pneumonia and would miss Golden State’s games Tuesday at Dallas and Wednesday at San Antonio.

The Warriors are home again Saturday to host the Los Angeles Lakers, but it’s unclear if Nelson will be healthy enough to return to the bench by then. Often times with pneumonia, at least a week’s worth of rest is recommended.

The team said Nelson’s status would be re-evaluated Friday after the road trip. Top assistant Keith Smart is coaching the Warriors during Nelson’s absence.

Nelson’s illness is another tough development for the coach in a season that has already been frustrating and very trying on him. Nelson is taking heat that he is the one to blame for the team’s struggles this season with a young roster. He has called this group “a very difficult team to coach so far” and got into a verbal spat with guard Monta Ellis earlier this month in New York.

The Warriors (4-8), whose playoff run in 2007 is the franchise’s lone postseason trip since 1994, ended a three-game losing streak with a 108-94 home victory over Portland on Friday night. That was the club’s first game at Oracle Arena since trading disgruntled swingman Stephen Jackson to Charlotte last Monday.

Nelson said in September he plans to fulfill the remaining two years on his contract and be employed one more year for free, but that may not be realistic any longer.

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