Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was back with his team Monday after missing six games dealing with his wife's serious health issue.
"She had to have major surgery and it'll be a long recovery," Frank said after morning shoot-around before a game against the Brooklyn Nets. "It was critical that I had to be there for my wife and kids. It's a helpless feeling."
He wouldn't divulge many details, but with his wife in New Jersey and his two young daughters there, it was a no-brainer to step away from the team to be there for his family. He admitted it was difficult to step back away from his family, but said his goal was to get his wife, Susan, out of the hospital and back home, at the very least.
"We all have stuff off the court, but this … I had to be there," Frank said. "Every day, we'll pray and keep on hoping for good things. This is many times your sanctuary, your salvation. It doesn't cure it. It's something I'm dealing with throughout."
That feeling extended to his players, who couldn't imagine being in that spot. For all that's said about NBA players and a perceived lack of awareness, they showed an appropriate amount of empathy an emotion for their coach.
"It's tough man, it's so serious," Greg Monroe said. "You wish you'd never have to go through it. I definitely would've had to take time off. Your wife, she's probably scared to death. I could feel where he's coming from, even though you don't know how serious it really is."
Frank actually drove to the wrong airport Sunday on his way back to Detroit, the first time he's ever done that in his life, he said.
His mind, understandably, was elsewhere.
"Your head, that's the hardest thing, leaving my family in this situation we're in," Frank said. "Look, there's not a right or wrong way. How you come to the conclusion, I wanted to get my wife out of the hospital and try to get her settled. As great as the organization is, I felt a responsibility to my job as well. I had a lot of support for my wife."
Pistons coach Lawrence Frank back with team after tending to ill wife
Detroit News | Mar 19