Miami Heat coach Riley takes leave of absence

Published: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 2:16 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 3, 2007 at 2:16 p.m.

MIAMI (AP) - Miami Heat coach Pat Riley said Wednesday he's taking an indefinite leave of absence because of ongoing problems with his hip and knee.

Riley was to explain his decision later at a news conference. It was not immediately clear who would be promoted to interim head coach.

The Heat were to play the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

Riley is in his 12th season with the Heat, who won the NBA title last June. They're off to a 13-17 start and have been without center Shaquille O'Neal most of the season because of a knee injury.

Riley returned to the bench in December 2005, replacing Stan Van Gundy and postponing a scheduled surgery for hip replacement. In September, Riley said he didn't expect to need the operation this season.

His condition has apparently worsened in recent weeks. He often walks with a limp and has been on medication for the hip.

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