George Karl Will Miss Some Games Due To Cancer
"Most people believe the treatment is manageable,'' Karl said of the condition known as squamous cell head/neck cancer.
Karl had surgery for prostate cancer in 2005, and recovered.
"About six weeks ago, I found a lump in my throat,'' said Karl, who learned in January about it being cancer but didn't inform his team until Tuesday.
Karl, 58, will have a 6 1/2-week treatment period, which he started Tuesday. Karl said he likely will miss games Feb. 25 at Golden State and March 10 at Minnesota, and could miss some others when he knows more about how he responds to treatment.
"The unknown is still the unknown,'' said Karl, who will be replaced during his absences by assistant coach Adrian Dantley. "How the treatment affects me.''
With the treatment expected to affect Karl more during the late stages of it, Karl said he might take it easy during some practices. But he hopes he will be at full strength for the playoffs.
"Basically, I believe my team is a championship team,'' Karl said. "My hope is I can focus 100 percent during the playoff run.''
Before missing the Golden State game, Karl will be on the bench for the next three games, including big ones Thursday at Cleveland and Sunday at home to Boston. Karl's attorney, Bret Adams, believes Karl has the fortitude for his game absences to be on the lower end as he goes through treatments.
"George is one of the toughest guys that I've ever known,'' Adams said.
Karl agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract extension last week that will take him through next season. Adams said it was "kudos'' to the Nuggets for going through with the contract extension even though Karl's illness was known at the time.
'George has been in contact with the organization in recent weeks regarding his health condition," Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. "We will continue to support our head coach in any way we can. Our thoughts are with him and his family as he focuses on getting healthy."
Karl was in good spirits last weekend while coaching the West in the NBA All-Star Game. He talked about what a gift it was to recently have seen his son play significant minutes on a 10-day contract with Golden State, although Coby Karl wasn't signed to a second 10-day deal.
"The support I've received from my family, the Nuggets organization and my friends in the basketball community already has been incredible," Karl said.
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