Tyronn Lue returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers last week and will officially resume his duties as head coach on Thursday as the team plays the Washington Wizards.
Lue left the team on March 17 to deal with health issues and spoke with the media upon his return. Lue issued plenty of praise for LeBron James for both encouraging him to step away and reassuring him that the team would be in good shape when he returned.
Lue told ESPN that leaving for a few weeks was “the best thing for me” and that James was helpful in making him confident the team would be in good shape when he returned.
“Having LeBron’s validation, just being like, ‘I got it. Take some time off, get yourself ready for the playoffs. I’ll take care of the team. I’ll make sure everything is good,'” Lue said. “And he’s playing at a high level, so he’s a man of his word.”
Lue said he had “piercing” chest pains and had to change his diet over the last few weeks, which has been tough for him.
“It’s been going on for a long period of time,” Lue said. “After the Chicago game when I had to leave at halftime, Koby and Dan and those guys said, ‘That’s enough. You have to get yourself healthy and get ready for the long haul.’ So I really appreciate that.”
Lue said he feels much better, but the transition hasn’t been easy. He still misses some of his favorite treats.
“No Shirley Temples. No orange juice with Sprite,” Lue said. “I haven’t had soda in almost three weeks. Just I guess the diet has probably been the toughest thing, just trying to eat better, eat cleaner. I got a new chef and she’s been great and so that’s probably the hardest thing, just trying to eat better and exercising. I should be doing that anyway because I’ve been a professional athlete my whole life, so it’s just good to get back to doing that also.”
John Wall has said ahead of the game that he wants to make a statement against the Cavs, but Lue returning for Cleveland is also a huge statement for the team. It’s been a rough season for Cleveland in a lot of different ways, but having everyone, including the head coach, healthy for the postseason is a huge boost.