Warriors coach Don Nelson, still feeling the effects of pneumonia, will not travel with the team on their upcoming five-game road trip that starts Monday.
Nelson, though, will coach tonight in Oakland when the Warriors play Orlando. He'll have just seven healthy players and two hobbled players — Anthony Randolph (left ankle) and Devean George (right knee) — available tonight now that guard Anthony Morrow has been excused from the game because of a death in his family.
"It's been a bumpy road," said guard Monta Ellis. "Players being hurt. Coach sick. We've got to do what we can with what we've got."
Morrow will rejoin the team for practice Sunday and will play when the Warriors begin their trip Monday night in Oklahoma City. Nelson, on the other hand, will stay home while assistant coach Keith Smart assumes control again.
The 69-year-old Nelson, heeding advice from the team's medical staff and general manager Larry Riley, will get some prescribed rest while the team hops from Oklahoma to New Jersey to Chicago to Detroit and to Philadelphia before heading back home.
Before coaching Thursday night against Houston, Nelson missed five games while recovering from pneumonia. After the game, and even Friday, Nelson had dizziness, excessive warmth and sweating. At that point, Riley and the team doctors "strongly advised" Nelson to stay home and avoid the multiple flights, cold weather and late nights that will accompany this road trip.
"It's about his health, and it's about the fact this is a difficult trip," Riley said, later adding, "I want him back. I want him to take this time while we are on this trip. We come back (Dec. 15). By that period of time, I expect him to be fully recovered."
Part of the problem is that Nelson hasn't shown he can set aside his competitiveness for his own good. In Thursday's loss to Houston, he was on his feet much of the fourth quarter. Then after the game, Nelson said he didn't get to sleep until 3:30 a.m.
"It wasn't the illness that kept me awake," Nelson said after practice, "it was the loss. ... That's not a good thing. I didn't get to sleep until 3:30. I was in bed looking at the ceiling for three hours."
When Riley and Nelson talked after Thursday's game, Riley recommended Nelson stay home and rest instead of coming to practice. But when Riley got to the facility, Nelson was there at practice.
Since Nelson has shown he just can't help himself, and because pneumonia can linger, the Warriors thought it best for him to take it easy until he's fully recovered. And Nelson obliged.
"The last thing you want is a setback," Nelson said. "I have to take the advice from the guys who know more than I do."
Nelson was diagnosed Nov. 23 but said he started feeling the effects at Boston on Nov. 18. If Nelson comes back before he's entirely healthy, he could risk prolonging the illness. Or worse.
"Pneumonia, that's something serious," Ellis said. "It's different from swine flu, the flu or a cold. You can die from pneumonia. Of course we're worried about it."