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Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford has a heart procedure

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com
Bobcats Pelicans Basketball
Gerald Herbert - AP
Charlotte Bobcats head coach Steve Clifford calls out from the bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. The Pelicans won 105-84. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford underwent a procedure today to insert two stents in his heart, after suffering chest pain last night.

Associate head coach Patrick Ewing will coach the Bobcats in Clifford’s place tonight against the New York Knicks.

The Bobcats issued a statement saying Clifford was resting comfortably after the procedure. There’s no stated timetable on when Clifford, 52, will rejoin the Bobcats. This is his first season as an NBA head coach.

Ewing spoke of his concern for Clifford at morning shoot-around.

"He just wasn’t feeling well so he’s at the hospital getting some tests,” Ewing said this morning.

"My emotions are all about Cliff and the team. He’s a very close friend of mine, and I’m worried about his health, safety and well-being. We have a great staff assembled here, so if he does not make it (to the game) the rest of the staff and I will have to carry on.”

Ewing worked with Clifford as assistants for the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets.

Ewing said he’s never coached a game except for summer-league games. Ironically he’ll be coaching tonight against the Knicks, the team he starred on at center for most of his playing career:

"I’m going to have to curse Cliff out, particularly since it’s this game against (the Knicks). All I’m worried about is us – executing with energy and effort. Execute the game plan and let the chips fall as they may.”

Ewing confirmed that Bobcats center Al Jefferson will again sit out tonight’s game with an ankle sprain. He’s missed four of the team’s five games this season after playing in the opener against the Rockets.

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