Hornets coach Steve Clifford to take leave of absence to address health


The Charlotte Hornets announced Wednesday that Coach Steve Clifford is stepping away from the team "for the immediate future to address his health".

There is no timetable for Clifford's return and longtime assistant Stephen Silas will be the interim head coach. The previous season, the Hornets went just 21-61 under the direction of Mike Dunlap, who lasted just one year with the team.

"(Clifford) is always so prepared for every instance, every game, so today was a lot of study", Silas told reporters before the game.

Clifford, 56, didn't coach in the team's 104-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday evening and wasn't at the team's Tuesday practice, either, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. "Usually I'll watch (an opponent's) game and kind of gloss through it if it's not my game plan".

Say what you will about the team, but he's been a good ambassador and is a cultural fit in Charlotte. "It was a long day".

Silas joined the Hornets as a scout in 1999 when his father, Paul, was head coach.

Hoping Steve gets well soon.