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Nene apologizes for Web site's posting saying tumor was benign

1/27/2008 - NBA Nene Hilario Denver Nuggets + more

DENVER -- Nuggets forward Nene, who is recovering from
testicular cancer, issued an apology and a thank you Sunday.

In his first public comments since discovering he had cancer,
Nene said he's sorry that his Web site posted an incorrect
statement saying his tumor was benign when it was actually
malignant and added that he's thankful for an outpouring of support
from across the world.

The Brazilian forward took an indefinite leave of absence from
the team on Jan. 11 and underwent surgery in Denver. Shortly
afterward, his Web site posted a statement saying the tumor was
benign. But that announcement quickly was removed, and doctors
later said it was cancerous but isolated and that Nene is expected
to make a full recovery.

"I would like to apologize for the incorrect information that
was disclosed. There was no bad-faith or intention to fool anyone
upon the announcement of a wrong result for the biopsy," Nene said
in a statement Sunday that blamed a miscommunication for the error.

"But the worst part is over, I am very happy with the result of
the exams, happy for feeling better," said Nene, who visited the
Nuggets at practice on Thursday and spent time with coach George
Karl, who is a cancer survivor himself and has a son, Coby, who
plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, who is also a cancer survivor.

"It was wonderful to meet my basketball family, my Denver
teammates, and I was surprised with the support and the way they
welcomed me back. It is because of emotions like this that I see
how difficult it will be to stay away from the courts," Nene said.

No timetable has been set for Nene's return, although the
Nuggets are hoping he'll be back on the court in April.

"My mind is there, with the team, but my body needs to rest and
to recover," Nene said. "And to know that I am recovering is a
big comfort. I had the opportunity to talk with my coach Karl, who
also faced very difficult moments and won such battles."

He said he's heard from fans "from all parts of the world"
wishing him well.

"I am well, feeling strong and grateful for all this affection
that came from so much people, from so many places, and which was a
very strong support point to me in the course of the last month,"
he said.

Nene is averaging 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. He missed 22
games earlier this season after an operation on his left thumb. He
was out for all but one game of the 2005-06 season after tearing a
knee ligament, and he was sidelined for 27 games the season before
with a variety of ailments after signing a six-year, $60 million
contract.