Mike D’Antoni: “50-50” on making his coaching debut tonight against Houston

EL SEGUNDO — As soon as he limped out of the trainer’s room, Lakers coach Mike D;Antoni sat down on a padded seat adjacent to the practice court.

He’s trying to conserve as much energy as he can after having recent knee replacement surgery. With the Lakers (4-5) hosting the Houston Rockets (4-5) tonight at Staples Center, D’Antoni’s debut could hinge on that variable.

“The plan is, but I’m still 50-50,” D’Antoni said after morning shootaround here at the Lakers’ practice facility. “I may be jumping the gun a little bit. I threw that day out of the air and people ran with it. So we’ll see.”

D’Antoni has coached the Lakers for the past two practices beginning Thursday. He’s no longer walking around with crutches. And he described himself as feeling “95%” and “getting better.”

But D’Antoni has also noticed his energy level “goes up and down.” Aside from practices, he’s filled his days with physical therapy and lots of rest. So much that he said he slept for most of Saturday afternoon and evening. So as his possible Lakers coaching debut awaits tonight, D’Antoni wants to make sure he’s physically capable of making it a memorable one for the right reasons.

“We’ll see. I don’t want to get out there and not be able to move,” he said. “It would be crazy with just the mobility aspect of it. It would be a sideshow and take away the focus of what you need to focus on.”


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