George Karl Set for Surgery as Nuggets Taking Auditions
Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed to FanHouse late Sunday afternoon the Nuggets on Monday in Denver will work out two of his free-agent big men, Brian Cook and Jake Voskuhl.
But cancer-battling Karl will undergo surgery Monday morning to have a feeding tube installed in his stomach. He will be away from the Nuggets at least until Friday's game at New Orleans, definitely missing Wednesday's game at Minnesota.
"They'll come in (Sunday night) and leave Tuesday,'' Bartelstein said of Cook and Voskuhl. "Both of them are in good shape.''
Bartelstein said Cook has been working out in Los Angeles since being waived Feb. 23 by Houston after playing in 15 games. He said Voskuhl, even though he hasn't played at all since being in training camp with Dallas, has been keeping in shape in Phoenix.
It's just a start for the Nuggets as they decide what to do with their big-man situation due to Martin having what the team has called tendinitis in his left knee. Martin has missed the past two games and five of the past 12, and it's possible his situation could be serious and he's sidelined for a while.
The Nuggets also have talked to Bartelstein about three other of his big-man clients: Mikki Moore, Mark Blount and Rob Kurz. Bartelstein said it's possible any still could work out for the Nuggets, although Moore might not be able to go until around the middle of March due to continuing to recover from Dec. 18 surgery to remove a right heel spur.
"I'll talk to (the Nuggets) on Monday, and we'll go from there,'' Bartelstein said about the possibly of his other players auditioning.
The Nuggets also might have some workouts later this week in New Orleans. They will be there for a possible Thursday practice and for Friday's game.
Karl calls it "50-50'' he will be able to coach against the Hornets. He will be away from the team at least until then due to his surgery.
"I don't think it's a serious surgery,'' Karl said of the procedure to assist him during his treatment for a form of throat cancer. "But they're going to have to cut my body open and put something in your stomach. So it's always a concern.''
Karl is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment. He will have chemo treatment Tuesday.
"I feel fine but I have an incredibly sore throat,'' he said. "Even ice cream doesn't taste good. My saliva is dry.''
Although there have been some difficult moments lately for the Nuggets, they were able to beat Portland 118-106 on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center. With Martin out, Johan Petro started at center, with Nene sliding to power forward. Petro had six points and game-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes.
The Nuggets now will wait to learn more about Martin, who had an MRI on Thursday. He is expected to have a consultation with doctors Monday after the doctors have evaluated results of his MRI. The Nuggets then will determine when he might return.
"When you have 10 guys looking at an MRI, they have 10 opinions, so you just got to live with it,'' said Karl, who said he's optimistic "everything is going to be fine'' with Martin.
Even before it was known Martin's injury could be severe, the Nuggets were considering bringing in another big man. The Nuggets are still trying to decide what type of player they might want.
The 6-foot-9 Cook, who has seven-year averages of 5.8 points and 2.7 rebounds, is more of an outside player. The 6-11 Voskhul, who has nine-year averages of 4.0 points and 3.4 rebounds, is more of a banger.
Auditions start Monday. But it might not be a quick process.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson