Karl says son is doing well after cancer surgery

DENVER -- George Karl sat in a hospital waiting room for nearly seven agonizing hours, watching the clock, wondering what was taking so long.

The surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes from his son, Coby, was supposed to last two, maybe three hours, and the Denver Nuggets' coach feared the possibilities as time ticked by.

"When it goes longer and longer, you always think the worst, and start worrying about things like being under anesthesia that long and all the nightmares you have about surgeries," George Karl said before the Nuggets' 120-115 win over Sacramento on Wednesday night.

Turns out Karl had nothing to worry about; the doctors just wanted to be thorough, making sure they removed all the cancer so Coby and his father wouldn't have to go through this a third time.

"He's doing great," George said. "I think we can move to another chapter. My big thing is to hopefully make Coby cancer free for the rest of his life. It disappointed me that we had to go back for another surgery."

Coby underwent surgery in Boise, Idaho, on Monday, his second operation in 13 months. The 23-year-old with NBA aspirations was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma, a form of treatable cancer, during his senior season at Boise State in January 2006, and he had his thyroid removed three months later.

Coby also underwent chemotherapy to kill off any remaining cells, but the cancer returned last month.

George, who was treated for prostate cancer in 2005, left his team after a game in Seattle on Sunday so he could be with his son. He left open the possibility of returning in time for Tuesday night's game against the Lakers in Los Angeles, but he decided against it even though Coby was awake and doing well by mid-Tuesday.

"The family was there, but I felt it was better for me to hang out there rather than try to catch the game at the last minute," George said. "I came home late last night and watched the fourth quarter here in Denver. I can't stand to watch it, it drives me crazy. It's much easier to coach than to watch it."

Coby will have to stay inactive for 10 days to two weeks while stitches heal, but he is free to do what he wants after that. The 6-foot-4 guard is expected to start working out in the next few weeks in hopes of getting drafted by an NBA team.

"He is anxious to get into the NBA thing and celebrate basketball by trying to make it in this league," George said.