Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue rejoined the team as an observer against the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night.
Lue did not coach in the Cavs’ 107-102 win. The plan is for him to hopefully ease his way back into a full-time coaching role over the Cavs’ four-game homestand that extends until Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Lue was not on the bench or in the locker room for Friday’s game.
“I’m sure it’ll be tough but he’s watched our games from afar and I know he’s itching to get back,” acting coach Larry Drew said before the game. “He’s talked to management here in the organization and they’ve come up with a plan as far as when it’s time for him to come back how often he’ll be around and how they want to move forward as far as him getting used to getting back into the grind. They’ve already discussed that and we’ll see what it is.”
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Lue left the Cavaliers on March 19 because of medical and rest issues. During his absence, he has been using a chef to improve his diet and has been on a steady exercise plan.
Lue, 40, had been dealing with chest pains and other serious symptoms, including coughing up blood, compounded by a loss of sleep for the majority of the season.
LeBron James said it was “absolutely” encouraging to hear Lue’s plans to observe the team and revealed he had been in contact with his coach during the Cavs’ recent road trip.
“We’re starting to get full, both from a coach’s perspective and a player’s perspective, so it’s definitely encouraging for sure,” James said at shootaround Friday morning.
Drew has been serving as the interim coach during Lue’s absence, and Cleveland has gone 6-1 during that span.
Kyle Korver was back with the team after the death of his brother, but was held out with a sore right foot.
The Cavaliers are 46-30 and third in the Eastern Conference standings.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.