Friday, March 20, 2009
UConn coach given 'clean bill of health'
ESPN.com news services
When Connecticut faces Texas A&M on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Jim Calhoun will be back in charge coaching the Huskies.
Calhoun led UConn in practice Friday, one day after missing the top-seeded Huskies' opening-round win over Tennessee-Chattanooga while being treated at a local hospital for dehydration. He was released Friday morning, then attended the team's practice and, later on, a scheduled news conference.
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"I fully expected to coach yesterday morning at 10, 11 o'clock when I mentioned to Jeff Anderson, our doctor, that I hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days and he said, 'Let's go down and get it checked out,'" Calhoun said. "And the next thing I knew the hour or so turned into being admitted and they tested me for everything it seemed and they found I was totally dehydrated.
"I bribed my way out of there as quick as I could. The full physical exam, for which I got high ratings, did not include a psychiatrist."
Calhoun said he woke up Thursday morning "feeling lousy" but had every intention of coaching the game against Chattanooga. He went to Anderson, the team physician, figuring the doctor might give him something to settle his stomach.
Instead, Anderson suggested that Calhoun go to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. The hospital decided to run a full battery of tests and keep him overnight for observation.
Calhoun was released at 7 a.m. and joined his team in time for breakfast at the team hotel.
"I'm thinking of the game even in the ride over just to be checked out quick to see everything," he said. "Next thing I know they put a bracelet on and I'm admitted. I was the most shocked guy in the world."
The good news, Calhoun said, is that the hospital gave him a clean bill of health.
"I didn't realize I was that healthy," Calhoun said, laughing. "There's no guarantees in life but I left there feeling awfully good because they did an extensive look at me to make sure everything was OK."
Calhoun spent the night in his hospital room watching game tape of UConn and its next opponent, Texas A&M. Associate head coach George Blaney coached the Huskies in Calhoun's absence. Senior guard A.J. Price and Hasheem Thabeet each scored 20 points in the third-largest victory ever in NCAA tournament history, a 103-47 win against Chattanooga.
This was the third NCAA tournament game Calhoun has missed. In the two previous instances, UConn went on to win the national title.
In 1999, Calhoun missed a first-round game against Texas-San Antonio. In 2004, he left a second-round game against DePaul after becoming ill. He returned just in time to see the end of UConn's 72-55 victory.
Calhoun has missed 21 games in his career, including one other game this season -- a Jan. 3 contest against Rutgers.
He missed time in January 2008 from what the team called a combination of stress and exhaustion. Calhoun also said then he'd been suffering from a gastric problem, something he's had for years.
Last May, the Basketball Hall of Fame coach was treated for a second bout of skin cancer. He had surgery to remove a lump in the upper right side of his neck near the jawline and underwent radiation.
Calhoun also missed five games in 2003, when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer.
Information from ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil and The Associated Press was used in this report.