Coach Frank returns to Pistons

March 18, 2013

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- It wasn't easy for Lawrence Frank to return to the Palace of Auburn Hills, but for now, Frank is back coaching the Pistons.

Frank missed the last six games while attending to his sick wife but returned for Monday's game against the Brooklyn Nets. Susan Frank still faces a long recovery after what her husband described as "major surgery," but the two decided he should go back to work now that she's home from the hospital.

"I'll be honest, it was a very hard decision," Frank said. "There's no right or wrong decision. I just had to deal with what my wife and I felt was the right thing.

"I'm here, so I'm 100 percent engaged with being here and doing my job. When we aren't playing, my thoughts will be 100 percent with my wife, and I will try to get back to see her whenever I can."

Frank said he'll try to return home before Friday's game in Miami but wasn't sure it would be possible.

"There's supposed to be snow on the East Coast, so we'll see what happens," he said. "The team has been great in helping in any way they can."

The ordeal has taken an obvious toll on Frank — he drove to the wrong airport to catch his flight back to Detroit — but it was clear that he had paid as much attention to his team as possible. He was able to break down Rodney Stuckey's 32 points in Portland off the top of his head and talked about their defensive issues on the four-game West Coast trip.

"When I was at home, my entire focus was on my wife, but I was trying to watch the games live and I was getting video every day," he said. "It helped that we were on the West Coast because I was at the hospital and that was a time that my wife might be sleeping."


Frank might have been in New Jersey with his wife, but he didn't miss the reaction to DeAndre Jordan's alley-oop dunk over Brandon Knight in Los Angeles.

"That just shows you what is wrong with our basketball culture," Frank said. "I don't even understand how that is even. Brandon showed a lot of courage by jumping in there and making a play when a lot of guys would have just ducked out of the way, and people make jokes about him? It was just a dunk. Big deal.

"People should be talking about Miami winning 22 straight games, but Twitter is blowing up about a dunk. That's just not how it should be."

Knight survived an ugly fall on the play without injury but sprained his ankle early in the next game. On Monday, he missed his third straight game.


Another thing Frank tracked during his absence was Andre Drummond's recovery from a stress fracture in his back. Drummond has been sidelined since Feb. 8 and has only recently added basketball activities to his rehab.

"He's doing well, but we're keeping a very close watch on him," Frank said. "We add a little bit every day."

The Pistons haven't put a timeline on Drummond's return, but Frank hopes it will be before the end of the season.

"He's a rookie, so he hasn't exactly played a lot of games in his career," Frank said. "Obviously, we'd rather have him on the floor. You get paid to play in this sport, not sit and watch.

"But that's only if he is healthy. If he's not ready, we're not going to put him on the floor."