Brown missed 10 games

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.-- Detroit coach Larry Brown never
wanted to miss a game, let alone the rest of the season. Now that
the coach's troubled hip is improving, the Pistons have their
leader back.
Brown returned to coach practice Thursday, and will be on the
bench Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers after a 10-game
"It's great to be back with these guys," Brown said. "This is
where I want to be."
Brown's future with the defending NBA champions became uncertain
on Tuesday when he openly questioned whether he'd be able to
"I always intended to come back, and now seemed to be the right
time to do it," he said. "I hate that it took this long, but I
had to get well enough."
Brown has been unable to coach since undergoing a procedure
related to hip surgery, which caused him to miss six games in
"It will be good to have him out there with us," center Ben
Wallace said. "When you have a guy that is that passionate about
the game, you want him leading your charge. We're just getting
tuned up -- getting everyone back and healthy and ready for the
Brown acknowledged that his health problems are not gone, but he
isn't planning to dwell on them. He stressed that he intends to
fully run the team, including practices and road trips.
"I have what I have," he said. "It's not going to change
until after we get done, and hopefully that means another three
months. It's not going to keep me from doing my job, and I'm not
going to worry about it."
Brown sat out another game in February with the flu before the
current absence started on March 14. Detroit has gone 9-8 under
assistant head coach Gar Heard, well below their 35-19 mark with
Brown at the helm.
"We're excited to have him back, because it is time for us to
start our run," guard Lindsey Hunter said. "It has been tough,
but we all understand his situation, and he picked up right where
he left off."
The Pistons scored more under Heard than Brown -- an average of
97.9 points as opposed to 91.1 -- but that couldn't make up for a
defensive collapse. Detroit has only allowed 87 points a game under
Brown, and saw that balloon to 98.9 under Heard.
"It's good just have that presence back again," said Chauncey
Billups. "Now we know we are going to be held accountable for our
Brown met with the team on Saturday and attended Tuesday's
practice, so the players weren't surprised to see him on the court
"We knew how much he wanted to be here, and we knew it was
getting close," Billups said. "He felt bad about having to leave,
but it was out of his hands, and now it is over."