This past season it looked like the Denver Nuggets would be a serious threat to dethrone the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for them, that never materialized. After a very good first half of the season, the Nuggets season took a turn for the worse and they had an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Utah Jazz. Their downfall started when they found out that the biggest fight for their team would come off the court as opposed to on the court. George Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer and it was announced that he would not be able to man the sidelines in Denver until the 2010-2011 season perhaps at the earliest. It’s rare that a coach can make that much difference, but the minute that Adrian Dantley took over in Denver, the Nuggets Championship hopes flew out the window.
George Karl joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about how he found out he had cancer, whether or not he was more concerned with this bout or the previous one, and whether or not he has been cleared to coach next season.
On how he found out about the cancer:
“Well I kinda switched doctors. I had a personal doctor, a family doctor and when he was going through an exam he found a lump on the neck. I had probably recognized that I had a lump there, but I just thought it was fatty tissue on a fatty guy. He said you better get that checked and we went around and checked with a neck specialist and he said well you better go see an oncologist so we did. It’s kind of a new, exploding type of cancer caused by the herpes virus they think.”
On whether this bout of cancer is more scary than the prostate cancer:
“I would say this one is probably a little more dangerous than prostate, but the treatment has been very good. The treatments are in the 85-90 area if they get it early. Right now everything looks great. I haven’t had my Petscan yet. That will happen in a couple of weeks. With cancer I think everything is about a five year project where you have to clear all the tests in five years, but right now it looks like I’m gonna be okay and I will be ready to coach come October.”
On whether or not it is a guarantee that he is back coaching this upcoming season:
“I’ve committed but it’s not a guarantee. The doctor’s up until probably October 1st if they call me in and say they would recommend against it, I probably wouldn’t coach but that has not been the case. Every exam this summer, I have three different doctors that I go talk to, they all feel from what they see, what they feel, and what they examine, you’re in the right place and hopefully we can continue that with some good tests coming in August and September.”
On the team to beat in the NBA:
“I still gotta go with the Lakers. They have some great players too. Pau (Gasol), Kobe (Braynt), (Lamar) Odom, and (Derek) Fisher plays like a veteran championship guy. He doesn’t let that team lose. So I still have to give the edge to the Lakers. It’ll be fun to see how the east responds to LeBron (James), Dwyane (Wade), and (Chris) Bosh. I think we all know a team wins championships, not talent.”