Keith Smart Reportedly Takes Leave of Absence from Heat to Treat Skin Cancer

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2016

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 25:  Udonis Haslem #40 and assistant coach Keith Smart  of the Miami Heat before the game against the Chicago Bulls on January 25, 2015 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Basketball took a back seat for the Miami Heat on Monday night, when Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald reported assistant coach Keith Smart will take another leave of absence for skin-cancer treatment.

According to Skolnick, “Smart will be away from the Heat for an indefinite period” as he receives treatment for cancer that was “discovered earlier this season.”

Michael Wallace of reported in mid-December that Smart underwent successful surgery at the University of Miami Hospital and expected to return to basketball activities in two to three weeks.

On Jan. 11, Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post reported that Smart returned to the team and passed along a quote from the assistant coach: “I never felt anything. I was just away. There were no symptoms or anything. I’m my same self I was before the surgery. It’s a very, very rare type…but I’m in the clear. All my pathology reports came back clear.”

Lieser noted Smart’s original return came quicker than the Heat anticipated.

This is Smart’s second season as an assistant with the team. He served as the head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2002-03 with a 9-31 record, the Golden State Warriors in 2010-11 with a 36-46 record and the Sacramento Kings from 2011 to 2013 with a 48-93 record over two seasons.

He also appeared in two games as a player for the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-89 campaign but scored only two points.

Smart is perhaps best known in basketball circles as the player who hit the game-winning shot in the 1987 NCAA championship game to propel his Indiana Hoosiers to a 74-73 victory over Syracuse.