As Lamar Odom fights for his life in a Las Vegas hospital, his estranged wife Khloé Kardashian is in a tussle with a brothel owner over who should speak to the media about what happened to the ex-NBA-turned-reality star.

There were conflicting reports Friday about Odom’s official medical condition, largely because the doctors and the hospital are not saying anything. Anonymous leaking “insiders” have helped create a confused picture about what’s going on.

Late Friday, a person close to the family, who didn’t want to be named because she was not authorized by the Kardashians to be named, told USA TODAY Life that Odom is conscious and was able to say hi to Khloé, but his condition remains guarded.

And USA TODAY Sports reported that Odom’s college basketball coach, Jim Harrick, has been in text communication with Khloé and she indicated improvement in his condition on Friday.

“She reached down and said ‘you know I love you’ and he kind of nodded,” Harrick said in an interview. “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).”

Still, Odom’s situation remains dire.

Meanwhile, there’s a struggle between the formidable Kardashian publicity machine and Dennis Hof, owner of the Love Ranch brothel an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, where Odom was found Tuesday unconscious following several days of drinking, pill-popping and sex.

Ever since, Hof has been on every media outlet in the gossip industrial complex, explaining what Odom was doing at the brothel (having a “good time”), how long he had been there (several days), how much he had paid ($75,000), what he had ingested (an herbal version of Viagra and possibly cocaine), and what the two prostitutes entertaining him found when they went to his room about 3 p.m. on Tuesday (Odom unresponsive, barely breathing, with blood and a white discharge coming from his mouth).

But Khloé wants him to stop talking. She issued a statement through her publicist suggesting that Hof is using the crisis to seek publicity for his brothels in Nevada. Hof, coincidentally, is a reality star, too: His brothel-based reality show on HBO, Cathouse, is two years older than Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

The sniping started Wednesday when Hof told HLN’s Nancy Grace that the K clan was trying to shut him up and they weren’t being polite about it.

“I got a call from the Kardashians’ publicist and she asked me if I was going to do media and I said yes,” Hof said to Grace. “And she said ‘please don’t do that, we’d rather have Khloé say what needs to be said,’ and I told her to go to hell.”

Since then, he’s repeated these fighting words to other media outlets, arguing that he’s telling the truth to protect his business’ image as law-abiding (brothels are licensed and legal in some Nevada counties).

Soon, Khloé was issuing a statement through her representatives.

“We reached out to Dennis yesterday politely asking him to respect Lamar’s (and Khloé’s) privacy during this difficult time and refrain from talking to the press,” the statement said. “This is a very painful situation, as I know you are aware, and the idea that anyone would use it to seek publicity is really sad.”

The Kardashians and their network, E!, had to bat down accusations that they, too, were exploiting Odom’s tragedy, by filming the situation for their show. E! issued a statement Wednesday obliquely denying that.

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians is not currently shooting in Las Vegas,” the network statement read.

Khloé and Odom, who got married in 2009, have signed divorce papers but are not yet officially split due to a case backlog, so she is the official next-of-kin responsible for making medical decisions for Odom. She rushed to his side Tuesday after hearing the news, accompanied by her sister Kim Kardashian West and mother Kris Jenner.