Former Los Angeles Lakers guard and current WNBA Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper has been diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer.
The Dream announced that Cooper will undergo surgery at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta this week. The doctors expect a full recovery — typical recovery time is two weeks. Assistant coach Karleen Thompson will assume coaching duties while he is out.
Cooper remained optimistic and confident in the Emory medical staff.
The doctors and staff at Emory have been tremendous, and I know I’m in good hands. I’m fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection. I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon.”
The Dream, which is off to a 15-6 start this season (atop the Eastern Conference), announced the news on Twitter.
Dream head coach Michael Cooper has been diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer & will take temporary leave: http://t.co/Ad1xVm289c
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) July 21, 2014
Dream forward Delisha Milton-Jones and guard Jasmine Thomas both offered their support, as did the WNBA.
— Jasmine Thomas (@jaszthomas) July 21, 2014
— WNBA (@WNBA) July 21, 2014
Cooper also received the support of a couple of his “Showtime” teammates as well as a few others around the NBA.
Thoughts and prayers with @ShowtimeCooper (Michael cooper) during this time. You will beat that cancer!
— Mark Madsen (@madsen_mark) July 21, 2014
Best wishes to Michael Cooper & his family — Wilson Chandler (@wilsonchandler) July 21, 2014
Praying for former Laker great and Current Atlanta Dream Coach Michael Cooper. God is a Healer!!
— Mark Jackson (@MarkJackson13) July 21, 2014
Even with the advances of modern medical science, cancer of any form is a very serious issue. Our thoughts and prayers are with Cooper and his family as he prepares for surgery later this week.
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