Midnight Madness 2011: Steve Lavin of St. John's Absent From Opening Night

Head coach Steve Lavin of the St. John's Red Storm shouts from the bench against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Pepsi Center on March 17, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Just more than a week after prostate surgery, St. John's head coach Steve Lavin missed his team's Midnight Madness festivities.

St. John's University men's basketball coach Steve Lavin missed the team's Midnight Madness festivities on Friday night at Carnesecca Arena, just more than a week after undergoing prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6.

The school anticipated that Lavin would be healthy enough to attend Midnight Madness, but announced via Twitter Friday afternoon that he would miss the Red Storm's opening practice. The school said Lavin spent the night resting at his home in Manhattan.

"Last week's surgery was a success," Lavin said in a statement released by St. John's. "Now my return to coaching duties will be dictated by the healing process. I'm under the expert care of Dr. Scardino at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and we are working closely to measure the daily progress being made during this vital recovery period.

"Naturally, I wish I was at Carnesecca Arena tonight to participate in the Tip-Off festivities with our team, and celebrate the start of the college basketball season with our loyal fans! Please know our players and staff appreciate your support. I will be watching from home with great pride! Go Johnnies!"

Lavin was originally scheduled to speak during the Midnight Madness festivities, but assistant coach Rico Hines filled his role.

"He's well, he's getting better each and every day," said St. John's assistant coach Rico Hines, who spoke in Lavin's place following Midnight Madness. "We want him to rest as long as possible, (and) we're gonna hold down the fort for him."

"If I knew (when Lavin will return), I would tell you. ... He's gonna play it by ear," Hines said Friday night. "As he gets to feeling better, then we'll start putting more stuff on his plate."    

The school announced that Lavin's procedure went as planned, and he is expected to return to coaching duties whenever his recovery period is complete.

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