(the animated Pat shows his solidarity with John Carlos and Tommy Smith)

The Heat have won 6 of their last 7, and magically, Pat Riley is well enough to coach again, writes the Miami Herald’s Michael Wallace.

Heat president and coach Pat Riley could return from medical leave as early as next week and coach the Feb. 21 road game against Houston, a team source said Monday.

Riley left the team Jan. 3 and has not appeared publicly since he turned the day-to-day coaching duties over to interim coach Ron Rothstein. Riley had knee surgery Jan. 5 and a hip replacement six days later.

Rothstein, who has guided the Heat to a 12-8 record since taking over, said as recently as last Tuesday that Riley had given him no indication as to when he might return to the bench.

The Contra Costa Times’ Geoff Lepper
notes that when Golden State opened business against the Cavs on January 20, a quintet Monta Ellis, Stephen Jackson, Al Harrington, Mickael Pietrus and Andris Biedrins marked “the first time an NBA team featured a starting five utterly devoid of any U.S. collegiate experience.” It’s a remarkable turn of events for the Warriors, “whom had never drafted an American high schooler or a player straight from Europe until choosing Pietrus at No. 11 overall in 2003.”

“I haven’t even thought about it,” Don Nelson said of coaching so many non-college players. “I mean, there are some real dummies that have graduated from college. And basketball IQ has nothing to do with (actual) IQ. In fact, it’s almost in reverse. The intellectual book guy is probably dumb as a rock on the court.”

John Amaechi claims since his coming out announcement, Doc Rivers is the only person affiliated with the Association to have reached out to him. And if Doc needed some advice on how to deal with being vilified, who could blame him?