Pistons Coach Larry Brown had surgery on his left hip yesterday and is expected to be away from the team for seven to 10 days.
Assistant coach Gar Heard will run the NBA champions during Brown's absence. Heard coached the Mavericks in 1993 and the Wizards in 2000. The 64-year-old Brown could return in time for Detroit's home game against Minnesota on Nov. 17.
"I talked to the doctors in the operating room, and they told me that seven to 10 days is a conservative estimate," Pistons President Joe Dumars said. "It all depends on how Larry is feeling, but that's what we are looking at."
Brown had his hip replaced 15 years ago, and this latest operation was the result of wear on the artificial joint. It had recently caused him severe pain, the team said.
Brown is expected to spend two to three days in the hospital. Dumars wasn't sure what kind of rehabilitation his coach faces.
"Oh, I suspect Larry will be active in running things," Dumars said. "He'll definitely have a cell phone and stay in the mix."
Heard ran practice yesterday, a day after the NBA champions opened their season with an 87-79 win over the Rockets.
"I'm in a great position to do this," he said. "We've got a veteran team that knows what they are expected to do. And Larry will still be involved. I'll be talking to him today as soon as he gets out of the recovery room."
Brown's players were more concerned about his health than his absence.
"He's not just our coach, he's our friend, so we are worried about him," Rasheed Wallace said. "We know what to do on the floor. Our general is down, but the soldiers are going to keep fighting."
In other team news, Detroit F Antonio McDyess was fined $5,000 by the NBA, a day after being ejected for kicking a basketball into the stands during the season opener against Houston.
McDyess was called for a foul while going for a rebound with 5 minutes 51 seconds left in the second quarter. As he walked down court, McDyess dropped the basketball, kicked it and was ejected. He had three points, one rebound and one steal in nine minutes against Houston.
* SURGERY: Denver shooting guard Voshon Lenard will have surgery Monday after tearing his Achilles' tendon in the Nuggets' season-opening loss to the Lakers.
Lenard averaged 14.2 points and shot 36 percent from three-point range last season. He also won the three-point shooting contest at the NBA All-Star Game.
DerMarr Johnson, who signed with the Nuggets two weeks before the season, was listed as the probable starter for the Nuggets' home opener against the Timberwolves tonight.
-- From News Services