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Report: Flip Saunders’ Hodgkin’s lymphoma now ‘life threatening’


Minnesota Timberwolves head coach/president of basketball operations Flip Saunders’ battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma reportedly has taken a serious turn for the worse. So much so that reports indicate the prognosis has devolved into a “life threatening” situation.

Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda took part in a live chat Thursday and his characterization of what he’s hearing from his sources is disturbingly ominous.

There’s no question things have changed dramatically since the team announced his diagnosis in August, back when it quoted his doctors saying the cancer was very treatable and curable. Since then there have been changes to the way his body handled the chemotherapy (and maybe how much cancer they’ve found) that have made it life threatening. Everyone involved has gone radio silent because of the family’s request for privacy and federal patient-privacy laws, etc., but between the complete silence, the lack of people visiting as far as I can tell apart from his immediate family and very inner circle while he remains hospitalized here in Minneapolis and the things I’m hearing second-hand, well, none of it is good. I’ll just say this, and this is just my own opinion, if he pulls through this: I doubt very much he’s back this year, it’s probably unlikely he coaches again just because of the stress inherent doing both those jobs and I think there’s a pretty good chance he doesn’t return full time to either job.

It was announced on Aug. 11 that Saunders had a “very treatable and curable form” of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and had been undergoing treatment since early June. At the time, it was expected treatments would have no impact on his work with the team. However, it was announced in September that Saunders would take a leave of absence due to “complications” related to his condition and that Sam Mitchell would assume his head coaching duties.