Steve Kerr is stepping aside from his job as coach of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to focus on his recovery from two back surgeries in the past three months.
The NBA team announced Thursday that Kerr would take a leave of absence to continue his rehabilitation from surgery to fix a ruptured disc in July and another operation last month.
Kerr led Golden State to an NBA championship in June in his first season as head coach.
“At this point, the most important thing is to make sure Steve is healthy, completely recovered and ready for not only the rigors of a long NBA season but day-to-day life in general,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said.
“We don’t anticipate the recovery process will be long term, but as of today we don’t know the exact time frame. We’ll evaluate his progress daily and provide updates as necessary.”
Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton will take over from Kerr while he is in rehab.
“After the first two days of training camp, I realized I need to take a step back and focus on my rehabilitation in order to be ready for the grind of another NBA season,” Kerr said.
“As I noted last week, my summer was difficult and no fun due to the multiple back surgeries. At this point, I simply want to get healthy and back to my normal daily routine on and off the court.”
Golden State gave no timeline for his return, saying the top priority is that he gets better.
Kerr, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, won five NBA championships as a player, including three with the Chicago Bulls.
He was chosen in the second round of the 1988 NBA entry draft by the Phoenix Suns and went on to play 910 games with Phoenix, Cleveland, Chicago, Orlando, Portland and San Antonio in 15 seasons.
Golden State opens the 2015-16 regular season on October 27 at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.