MIAMI -- Pat Riley is taking a break from a season that has left him limping and in pain.
The Miami Heat coach began an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday because of hip and knee problems, choosing assistant Ron Rothstein to fill his spot on an interim basis.
Riley will have surgery Friday to remove floating chips his right knee. Surgery on his hip, the malady that hurts him most now, is not yet scheduled. The 61-year-old coach doesn't know how long he'll be out.
"I'm going to be displaced for a while, but not disconnected at all," he said.
Miami's record fell to 13-18 on Wednesday after a 110-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Already this season, the Heat have seen Shaquille O'Neal, Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams -- perhaps the three biggest keys in last year's championship run -- miss many games with injuries.
And now it's Riley's turn.
"We have a championship team that is sideways right now, so this is going to be a great challenge," Riley said. "Keep your notebooks open. We'll see how it plays out."
Riley, who also is the Heat president, resigned as coach shortly before the 2003-04 season, then returned to the bench in December 2005, replacing Stan Van Gundy and postponing right hip replacement surgery.
|Riley is scheduled to have knee surgery on Friday. (Getty Images)|
"I'm just tired of the pain and the medication," Riley said.
Riley was asked if the knee injury, or at its severity, stems in any way from him reportedly kicking a locker room door last week following a loss in Chicago.
"What I do in the locker room really has always been my business," Riley said.
Heat center Alonzo Mourning said he didn't know if the kick made Riley's condition worse.