Charlotte Hornets

Steve Clifford is back for the Hornets. Here’s what took the coach out of the game.

Hornets Stephen Silas says he is a better coach now after subbing for Steve Clifford

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been cleared to return to the bench next week, the Hornets announced Thursday night.
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Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford has been cleared to return to the bench next week, the Hornets announced Thursday night.

Following a medical leave of more than a month, the Charlotte Hornets’ Steve Clifford will return to coach his team starting Tuesday at practice, the Hornets announced Thursday night.

The Observer first reported Thursday that Clifford has been cleared to return to work. He has been out since Dec. 4, when associate head coach Steve Silas took over. Previously, Clifford’s health condition was undisclosed. However, a source confirmed to the Observer that Clifford has been suffering from severe headaches, a condition that predates this season.

Clifford will address the media Friday midday at Spectrum Center. His first game back will be Wednesday night, at home against the Washington Wizards.

Clifford has been out since the morning of a Dec. 4 home game against the Orlando Magic. The Hornets were 8-13 before Clifford’s departure, and are now 16-24.

Silas will coach three more games: At home Friday against the Utah Jazz, at home Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Monday afternoon in Detroit against the Pistons. The Hornets have gone 8-10 with Silas in charge.

Silas has been coaching with occasional consultation with Clifford, mostly by text message. Silas described the awkwardness of this experience in a long interview with the Observer last month.

Silas took over the team unexpectedly before morning shootaround going into the Dec. 4 home game. Two days later, before a home game against the Golden State Warriors, the team announced Clifford would be out for an undetermined period to address a personal health issue.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

Stephen Silas will fill in as Charlotte Hornets coach while Steve Clifford takes a medical leave of undetermined length.He talks about the situation on Dec. 6, 2017.

Hornets’ Kemba Walker talks about coach Steve Clifford taking a medical leave of undetermined length on Dec. 6, 2017.

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