Thomas Will Coach FIU Monday Despite Ailing Mother

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Isiah Thomas will coach Florida International in its opener Monday night against No. 6 North Carolina, hours after his 86-year-old mother had open-heart surgery.

Thomas spent Sunday in Chicago with his mother, Mary. He arrived in Chapel Hill early Monday, and told The Associated Press he expects to return to Chicago on Tuesday.

"It's tough right now," Thomas said by telephone.

The Hall of Famer was at shootaround with the Golden Panthers on Monday, and spent the afternoon resting and preparing in the team hotel. He was hired by FIU in April.