LAS VEGAS - Lamar Odom was awake and responsive to communicative attempts from his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian at a Las Vegas hospital on Friday morning, according to Odom's college basketball coach Jim Harrick.
In a telephone conversation with USA TODAY Sports, Harrick said that Kardashian, who married the former NBA player in 2009, had texted details of a strong improvement in Odom's condition.
"She reached down and said 'you know I love you' and he kind of nodded," Harrick said. "Three or four days after being scared to death and fearing the worst, that is a little hope, a little progress. She texted me that (information)."
Alvina Alston, publicist for JaNean Mercer, Odom's maternal aunt and godmother, said that Odom spoke a greeting and gave a thumps up Friday morning, his first communication since being hospitalized.
Harrick became a father figure to Odom during the 6-10 forward's time at Rhode Island University, where he played basketball for one season before entering the NBA draft in 1999.
Odom has been at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas since Tuesday, having been taken to the facility after being found unresponsive following a three-day binge that allegedly involved cocaine use at a Nevada brothel called the Love Ranch.
Friday brought the first positive signs for Odom's health as his heart showed evidence of increased function.
Kardashian and Odom are still technically married as their divorce has not yet been finalized. Harrick said he hopes the pair can rekindle their relationship if Odom pulls through from his stricken condition.
"I think she is the best thing to have ever happened to him," Harrick said.