Nuggets' Karl says he has cancer, will try to stay with team

10:53 PM, Feb 16, 2010   |    comments
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"I don't think I'm a guy that needs sympathy but I do need support," he said. "I think I'm very blessed to have a great family and an organization that has supported me through all of this, and great friends, and a great team, and I will need all of them."

"I think the major desire for me is to kick this cancer's butt," Karl said. "

At an evening news conference, flanked by his players and staff, Karl said doctors found a lump on his neck about six weeks ago and it was later diagnosed as cancerous. Several times during the news conference Karl had to fight to keep his composure.

"I still wake up and think, 'Oh [expletive], I have cancer,'" Karl said.

Karl says his treatment began on Tuesday and will last six weeks. He will undergo both radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Karl says he may have to miss games or practices depending on his pain and fatigue levels.

"My belief is my team is a championship team and I want to do anything and everything I can to help them continue on the quest that we all want," Karl said.

He had let his players know about the cancer just before the news conference.

Karl says it is his hope that it is a curable and treatable disease and he also hopes to be back at 100 percent for the start of the NBA playoffs in the middle of April.

"I'll probably have some bad days, but I'm ready for the competition," he said.

"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."

The 58-year-old underwent surgery for prostate cancer in July 2005. A year later, his son Coby had a cancerous tumor in his thryroid removed.

Karl is the seventh winningest coach in NBA history and coached for the NBA All Star Game over the weekend. He says he was glad to spend the weekend with his family at the All Star Game.

"My family has battled cancer and now I'm somewhat of an amateur at the cancers, but it is something that has to be treated immediately," he said.

Karl 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's doctor says the lump in his neck was about 2 inches in diameter. The doctor says it appears the cancer was caused by a virus and that means there is a higher cure rate.

Karl is not expected to have surgery on his cancerous tumor.

Karl has coached Denver to the playoffs each of the last five seasons. His 260 wins since joining the Nuggets in January 2005 are the second most in team history.

The Nuggets are 35-18 this season.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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