I was shocked and saddened by the announcement today that George Karl has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Just yesterday I was writing about how I believed Karl had come through his battle with prostate cancer, reorganized his priorities and had reached a point where he could have passion for coaching while keeping his professional life in the proper perspective. Now he could potentially miss the chance to coach his team over the final few weeks of the season.
According to the Nuggets, Karl has been stricken with a very treatable squamous cell neck/head cancer and the chances for a full recovery are very good. The initial statement was that treatment would last six weeks, but later in the article the time frame is listed as 45 days. During that time Karl will be subjected to painful and draining radiation treatment.
During his press conference Karl was emotional, but resolute. He asked for support instead of sympathy and while clearly not looking forward to what lay ahead was also confident he could beat cancer a second time.
Karl claimed he will be around the team as much as his strength allows him to be. Although he announced that he is currently only going slated to miss two upcoming games, at Golden State on February 25 and at Minnesota on March 10, it is likely he will miss several other games as his body struggles to handle the onslaught of radiation. He will continue to attend practice as frequently as possible although most likely as an observer instead of a participant.
Obviously the primary concern for Nuggets fans is the health of Coach Karl and even though his announcement today leaves many questions in the minds of fans about how the team and front office will deal with the possibility of their head coach being physically incapable of fulfilling his duties, I do not feel this is the time to discuss the more trivial points of this story. There will be plenty of time for that over the next few days and weeks.
I trust Coach Karl knows we are all pulling for him and I know personally I will be praying for both him and his family as they fight this battle together. Good luck coach, and may God be with you.