MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tony Barone Sr. was on his way to scout a college basketball game when Jerry West called and asked him to take over as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.

His plane rerouted immediately.

"Jerry asked me to do it, and I'm going to do it," Barone said Friday after his first practice.

West, the Grizzlies' president of basketball operations, fired Mike Fratello on Thursday and then picked his director of personnel to take over a team with the NBA's worst record (6-24).

Barone coached Texas A&M and Creighton in college but has only been an assistant in the NBA.

"Tony, if you're around him, is one of the most infectious guys in the world, and don't think he doesn't have an extensive basketball background," West said at a news conference.

Barone will return to his old job at the end of the season, and West said the new coach will then know even more about what the team needs next summer.

West defended his friend Fratello for coaching a team that has struggled with injuries, questions about a proposed sale, new owners, and what he called a "brutal" schedule. But he knew after watching the Grizzlies in a 112-96 loss Wednesday night to Milwaukee that a change was needed.

"Our players simply had lost confidence," West said.

West said the team needed a change in personality, and he expects Barone to employ a much more aggressive and simpler style.

WADE SITS OUT: Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was inactive Friday night against the New Jersey Nets because of a right wrist injury. There's a good possibility Wade will also miss today's game at Orlando, coach Pat Riley said.

PAUL OUT 4 WEEKS: An ankle injury will keep New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul sidelined for at least a month. Paul had an MRI on Thursday and has a severely sprained ankle that will take a minimum of four weeks to heal, team spokesman Scott Hall said on Friday. Paul injured the ankle when he stepped on the foot of Seattle's Johan Petro late in the first quarter of a game in Seattle on Tuesday.

YAO TO GET UPDATE:Yao Ming plans to meet with doctors next week for an update on how his injured right knee is healing. Yao told KRIV-TV in Houston on Friday that he hopes for a better prognosis than the one doctors initially provided — that he would be out of action until early February. Yao fractured his right tibial plateau under his knee Dec. 23 when he jumped to block a shot and his knee got caught under Tim Thomas' body.

POSEY SUSPENDED: Miami Heat forward James Posey was suspended one game without pay Friday by the NBA for a flagrant foul against Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng. Posey was ejected for taking down Deng from behind with 7:16 remaining in the fourth period of the Heat's 109-103 loss to the Bulls on Wednesday at the United Center. Posey missed Friday's game against the New Jersey Nets.