Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies shouts from the bench during the west regional final of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 26, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jim Calhoun
UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun will take an indefinite medical leave of absence, effective immediately, according to UConn’s athletic department.
He is taking leave to deal with worsening spinal stenosis, a lower back condition that causes him severe pain and hampers mobility.
Spinal stenosis, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a narrowing of one or more areas in the spine, which can put "pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves at the level of compression."
UConn said Calhoun will not coach Saturday’s game against Seton Hall, nor Monday’s game at Louisville and his condition will be evaluated on a daily basis as options for treatment are explored.
Associate head coach George Blaney will be in charge of the team in Calhoun’s absence.
Calhoun took a nearly month-long medical leave of absence from January 2010 to February 2010, stunning UConn fans.
Dr. Peter Schulman, of the UConn Health Center, said Calhoun’s primary health care physician, stenosis is a condition that the UConn coach has been coping with for the last few months.
“Last summer, Jim had some significant back pain and has seen two excellent back specialists,” Schulman said. “The initial approach recommended to him was stretching, physical therapy and exercise, and that was successful for several months. It turns out that there is some degenerative problem in the lumbar vertebrae and it’s impinging on the nerves. It has led to significant back pain and some symptoms in his lower extremities.
Schulman said Calhoun has been able to manage it with the physical therapy and stretching, but things have become worse over the last several days.
“Right now, he is physically unable to coach,” Schulman said.
The Hall of Fame coach was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 and also has had two bouts with skin cancer.