Recovering Lavin watches game from home

HARTFORD, Conn. -- St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said Saturday by phone from his Manhattan residence that he's feeling good, but that doctors haven’t cleared him to return to full-time coaching duties. That’s why he was watching the Red Storm’s game at Connecticut on television Saturday instead of attending at the XL Center in Hartford.

Lavin hasn’t coached since Nov. 18 when the Red Storm lost to Texas A&M at Madison Square Garden. Lavin, who admits he returned to the bench too soon, is being charged all wins and losses during his absence.

“We’re not going to push this,’’ said Lavin, who is still recovering from major prostate cancer surgery. Lavin was diagnosed in August 2010, but waited over a year as he weighed various forms of treatment.

“This is about the long-term health, and the university has been great about not making a short-term decision [for this season],’’ said Lavin, who added that there is no timetable for his return.

He said there are times when he has the energy to deal with the stress of coaching, and there are other days when he does not.

Assistant coach Mike Dunlap said Saturday that Lavin has been transparent about his recovery, and the players see the energy he’s putting forth to try to return to the bench. The stress of games is too much to deal with, but he's still involved in practices.

Lavin also said he has made multiple recruiting trips to the Bay Area, Southern California, New England and Florida in the past six weeks.