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Tempe, Ariz • Utah's final minute of its 88-82 win over Arizona State was played without their head coach in the huddle.
Larry Krystkowiak was hobbled in the second half of Saturday afternoon's game by an episode which his assistants described as his back "freezing up."
Krystkowiak was being tended to by Utah's trainer, Trevor Jameson, for the final seconds of the game. Assistant Tommy Connor drew up the plays for that stretch, particularly Utah's inbound plays to get the ball to the team's free throw shooters.
The coaches and the audience watching on Pac-12 Network could first see something was wrong when Krystkowiak suddenly hunched and began to walk with a heavy limp. After trying to labor through, Krystkowiak ended up pulling himself out of the action.
"All I know is his back locked up a little bit," Connor said. "He said, 'You got 'em." And I had the board for the end there a little bit."
After the game, Krystkowiak went to visit with Arizona State's team doctors to be examined, while Connor handled the postgame media responsibilities.
Krystkowiak left Wells Fargo Arena in a wheelchair, but by the team's return to Salt Lake was walking under his own power.
Connor didn't have an immediate update on Krystkowiak's health status.
"He's had some back issues and something happened there," Connor said. "We hope he's OK. But he's hurting."
Krystkowiak's NBA career was marked by significant injuries. He has had replacement surgeries on both of his knees in recent years.
Players said they didn't notice that Krystkowiak was in distress until after the game was over.
"I wasn't really aware of it until I saw him get carried off the court," junior Kyle Kuzma said. "But Coach Connor stepped right in there. Next man up mentality. It worked out for us. It was good playcalling and stuff at the end."
In an odd twist, it's been a bad back week for both coaches known as "Coach K." Duke's Mike Krzyzewski announced he was leaving the Blue Devils for a few weeks to undergo back surgery.