Minnesota Timberwolves Announce Coach Flip Saunders Has Lymphoma

Flip Saunders
The Associated Press

On Tuesday the Minnesota Timberwolves announced that coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a curable form of cancer.

Saunders undergoes treatment at the Mayo Clinic and fully intends to take up his duties as soon as practicable.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Timberwolves reported that the diagnosis was made eight weeks ago.

Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Flip Saunders today announced that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment for what his doctors called a “very treatable and curable form of cancer.”

The initial diagnosis came eight weeks ago during an examination by Timberwolves Vice President of Team Medical Services Sheldon Burns. Saunders immediately started the treatment process with a medical team at Mayo Clinic.

“I am taking it step by step and day by day to understand how to best manage this process,” said Saunders, who has attended to all of his team duties throughout the period of diagnosis and treatment.

“I want to thank Dr. Burns as well as my medical team at Mayo Clinic for their hard work in diagnosing my situation and creating a plan to help me achieve a cancer-free outcome. I am attacking this with the same passion I do everything in my life, knowing this is a serious issue. I also know that God has prepared me to fight this battle.”

Saunders was first brought into the organization back in 1995 as general manager. He soon became head coach, and between 1997 and 2004 took the team to eight straight playoff appearances. He left the team in 2005 but was back again by 2013 as president of basketball operations. Only a year later Saunders again took over as the team’s head coach.

Coach Saunders, a two time NBA All-Star Game head coach, has a long relationship with Minnesota, graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1977. Saunders also went on to serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1981 to 1986.

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