March 17, 2010
What we didn't know is how intense the treatment for his cancer is. Couple that with the demands of a coaching job in the NBA and it's unbelievable that he even has the energy to sit on the bench during a game. ESPN's Rick Reilly spent a day in treatment with Karl and has an absolute must-read story of Karl's perseverance.
I don't know how your Monday was, but this was Karl's: He'd coached the Nuggets to a 12-point win over Portland the night before. Didn't hit the sack until 1. Got up at 5. Was at the hospital by 6. Had surgery at 6:30 to put in the stomach tube that, coming soon, will be the only way he'll eat. Out of surgery at 7. Radiation at 8. Home by 10. Nap. Then started working on preparing for the Minnesota game.
It's incredible what Karl's going through. He's now getting all his nutrition from a feeding tube, and he's still got a lot more treatment to go through — treatment that coincides with the playoffs.
The doc is a Nuggets freak and he knows there's something secondary at stake here, beyond saving George Karl's life -- getting him back on the bench. "I think this could finally be the year we win it all," the doc says.
Karl doesn't fight him. "When we play right, I don't think there's anybody in the league who wants to play us."
Bonded, the two of them plot out the schedule: Three more weeks of treatment. The worst three weeks. Then at least three -- if not four -- weeks of utter exhaustion. Then -- and only then -- might he be able to coach again. That puts them at about April 26.
"When does it get intense?" Dr. Davis asks.
"April 20," says Karl (though the playoffs actually start April 17.)
Could be a problem.
For anybody else.
"I hope my team is ready," Karl says. "I hope I'm ready."
So do we, George.