Magic coach Steve Clifford diagnosed with dehydration, cleared to return to Magic, per report

Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford fell ill during the third quarter of his team’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, and according to the team’s public relations department, he was taken to the hospital for further examination. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN added that Clifford was examined by team doctors at the arena, and the trip to the hospital is thought to be precautionary.

Fortunately, Clifford was diagnosed only with dehydration, according to Wojnarowski. He has been discharged and cleared to return to the team. The situation was particularly worrisome because Clifford is not far removed from having to step away from the game in order to focus on his health.

Back in the 2017-18 season, when he was coaching the Charlotte Hornets, Clifford started suffering from severe headaches, and was forced to step back from his coaching duties for over a month. At the time, doctors told him that his workaholic schedule and severe sleep deprivation was the cause of the headaches. 

In an interview the next season, after he had returned to the sidelines, Clifford detailed how scary the episode was for him:

“A headache hit me so bad that I was shaking, and my head was pounding. I knew I was in trouble, so I just called (assistant coach) Pat (Delany) and said, `You’re going to have to do shootaround,”’ Clifford remembered. “I went out to drive home because I only lived four blocks away (from Charlotte’s arena) and once I sat down in my car, I knew it wouldn’t be smart for me to drive. So, I just walked home.”

Clifford didn’t coach that night – the reason given was an illness – and, as the Hornets were beating the Magic, the head coach was being thoroughly examined by team doctors. Two days later, it was announced that Clifford would be taking an extended leave of absence in hopes of improving his health. Privately, Clifford – the son of a high school coach whose only dreams in life were to coach basketball – feared that his career along the sidelines was over.

“Scared. Big-time scared,” he said. “Let’s put it this way, my first year (the 2013-14 season) there (in Charlotte) I had to have a couple of heart stints put in and I only missed one game. When this happened, I knew I couldn’t coach for a while. It was really scary for me.”

Thankfully for Clifford and the Magic, this situation didn’t turn out to be nearly as serious. The Magic will have their coach moving forward. 

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