Lickliter Improving After "Serious" Procedure

The condition of Iowa men's basketball coach Todd Lickliter continued improving on Monday according to sports information's Phil Haddy. The coach could have been released from the hospital on Monday and be back in the bench for Friday's game.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Todd Lickliter was feeling better on Monday morning and eyeing a possible release from the hospital later in the day according to his wife, Joez Lickliter. The Iowa men's basketball coach underwent an unknown procedure Saturday morning.

Few details of the surgery have been made public by the university. Spokespeople have chosen to allow Lickliter to elaborate upon his return.

Joez Lickliter asked Iowa Sports Information Director Phil Haddy to pass updated information along to the media during the coach's usual Monday press conference here. Assistant coach Chad Walthall, who took the reigns on Saturday in an 80-51 win against Prairie View A&M, handled the session with journalists on Monday.

Haddy said it was a "serious procedure" undergone by Lickliter.

"He had been having some severe headaches, and that was his situation," Haddy said. "(Doctors) did find a reason for the severe headaches. They undertook a procedure to relieve it. At this time (10:30 a.m. Monday), he's doing much better.

"He's still in the hospital. He hopes to get out today. He's very tired and very exhausted. He did not have an aneurysm. He did not have a stroke. He did not have a heart attack. There had been rumors going around that he had something along that line."

Haddy said that Lickliter would be more specific about the procedure when he next meets with the media. Iowa plays on Tuesday night at Northern Iowa followed by a trip to Iowa State on Friday.

"It's possible, but very, very unlikely that he'll be at (Tuesday) night's game," Haddy said. "I would probably expect him to return to the bench against Iowa State. He‘s out of danger now and feeling much, much better today."

The Hawkeyes (3-5) face one of their biggest weeks of the season with the pair of road games at in-state rivals.

"We're preparing the best we can without coach here and we're thrilled that he's doing well," Walthall said. "We expect him back very soon and we're just going to try to hold the fort as best as we can. Our players are very mature and they're doing their part."

Redshirt freshman John Lickliter, a red shirt freshman, and Garrett Lickliter, a graduate assistant, sons of the coach, returned to practice on Sunday with what Walthall called "big smiles on their faces." They missed the Prairie View game to be with their father at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Walthall visited Lickliter in the hospital.

"I have not been able to speak with him," Walthall said. "I did speak with Joez and she's obviously relieved and feeling good with the progress that he's making."

Now that the coach seems to be in the clear and on the road to recovery, Walthall and fellow assistants, LaVall Jordan and Joel Cornette, must keep the players focused on Northern Iowa.

"It's certainly not normal," Walthall said. "None of us is pretending that it's life as normal, business as usual. But we're trying to handle it the way that coach would want us to handle it. There's adversity in front of us.

"He'd be the first one (to say) the world is not going to stop. You have to keep going on. Our players have accepted that."

You can view Haddy speaking about what Joez Lickliter told him in thisvideo.

You can view Walthall speaking about what Coach Lickliter in his opening statement in thisvideo.

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