Nuggets’ Karl has cancer

Published 2:05 am Wednesday, February 17, 2010

DENVER — Nuggets coach George Karl has been diagnosed with neck and throat cancer and likely will miss some games and practices while undergoing a rigorous six-week treatment program of radiation and chemotherapy.

His voice breaking at times, Karl revealed the diagnosis Tuesday night with his doctor, Jacques Saari, at his side and surrounded by his team and members of the Nuggets organization.

“My desire is to do whatever I can to stay with my team throughout the treatment that I have to go through,” Karl said. “Basically, my belief is this is a championship team and I want to do anything and everything I can to help them continue in their quest that we all want.”

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Karl, a survivor of prostate cancer, said he expects to miss at least a couple of upcoming games, at Golden State on Feb. 25 and at Minnesota on March 10. He said assistant Adrian Dantley would lead the team when he’s absent.

Karl informed his players that he was battling cancer when the team convened earlier Tuesday for its first practice since returning from the All-Star break.

“A situation like that, it’s real life,” guard Chauncey Billups said. “You take the basketball out of it. You take work out of it. None of us can really be selfish and say, ’Hey, we’re going to miss George if he doesn’t coach some of the games.’ We’ve got to take all that out of it. Your heart just goes out to him and his family. All we can really do is pray for him.”