Nuggets' Karl: 'I'll be excited to be back'
George Karl, not long after spending a week in the hospital dealing with complications from his battle with throat and neck cancer, said he's feeling better and plans to return to the Denver Nuggets as coach next season, The Denver Post reported.
"I'll be excited to be back on the bench -- that's what I do, that's the dream," Karl told the newspaper Thursday.
Karl completed a six-week treatment of chemotherapy and radiation for throat and neck cancer in April. He has also been hospitalized twice for blood clots since starting the regimen.
Karl was discharged last week after spending nearly a week in the hospital for the clots.
"I don't see that happening," Karl told The Post when asked if there was a situation where he would not return, "but I am going to put my health first, and come next fall, if the doctors don't feel it's a wise thing and I don't think it's a wise thing, [then we'll reevaluate]. But my feeling is the exact opposite. We're in a good place, the steps have been good, the tests have been good and I've just got to keep plugging away every day."
Karl was diagnosed with cancer late last year and informed his players and the media after coaching the Western Conference in the All-Star Game in February. He began six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy that eventually sidelined him in mid-March.
He had hoped to return for the playoffs but his treatment caused him to lose 25 pounds along with his strength and stamina.
The Nuggets were 42-21 under Karl but went 12-12 under acting coach Adrian Dantley and were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in six games in the opening round of the playoffs.
"The thing that killed me was the defense," Karl said of the first-round loss. "We tried to win the game by outshooting them. Because of that, we didn't find that special toughness to beat a team like Utah."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.