Former Indiana Pacers coach and current radio color analyst Bob "Slick" Leonard has never been so happy about having broken ribs.
He knows there's a chance he wouldn't be alive without the broken ribs.
Leonard suffered the injury when medical staff frantically tried to revive him four times after he suffered a heart attack on the team bus after the March 13 game in New York.
"I truly feel blessed to be alive today," Leonard said in a recent phone interview. "They thought they lost me. (Trainers) Josh Corbeil and Carl Eaton beat me up pretty good that night, but they saved my life."
Leonard said team president Larry Bird arranged for a plane to transport Leonard's wife, Nancy, to New York to be with him, and also for their return to Indianapolis. Television analyst Quinn Buckner stayed by Leonard's side during that fearful night.
Center Jeff Foster referred to it as "one of the scariest moments" he has experienced.
Leonard, 78, had two stents inserted into his heart at a New York hospital before returning to Indianapolis.
"I probably wouldn't be here today if I was out by myself that night," Leonard said. "It's a miracle."
Leonard's return to the radio is still undetermined. His main priority is to recover from the broken ribs, which could take six weeks.
Leonard is spending his time at home watching "a lot of basketball," ranging from the high school state championship games, Butler's run through the NCAA Tournament and the Pacers, as they try to reach the postseason for the first time since 2006.
Leonard won 529 games and three ABA titles in 12 years as Pacers coach. He has been a player, coach or broadcaster in pro basketball for 55 years.
"My goal is to get back on the radio at some point, but that's not the main priority right now," Leonard said. "I will get healthy. (Former Pacer) Austin (Croshere) has been doing a great job working with (radio play-by-play announcer) Mark (Boyle). This is an exciting time for the Pacers as they work toward the playoffs."
Mike Well Indystar.com