One of the Philadelphia 76ers assistant coaches is taking a leave of absence to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments for a Stage 1 form of “head and neck” cancer according to reports by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Dave Joerger, who has only missed one game in the last two weeks while undergoing treatments has decided to step away for several weeks with the team’s extended road trip affecting his scheduled treatments in Philadelphia. Joerger shared the news with players, assistant coaches, and staff after Saturday night’s loss to the Pacers.
Joerger decided to announce to his cancer diagnosis public to set an example encouraging people to get regular examinations and share issues with doctors for early detection.
“We have caught it early,” Joerger told ESPN. “I’m very lucky. I’ve got over a 90% chance of cure rate, but it’s very scary and it’s not enjoyable going through. …I can’t go on the road and do radiation and chemotherapy in different cities around the country. To continue my treatment, I need to step away from the team.”
“I stare at my face every morning when I shave and I’m very sensitive … that I know that [the lump’s] there,”
“…We do another scan, and it’s one of those days that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. We were in Toronto, and he texted me and said: ‘We need to talk. Let’s just get it done right now.'”
Joerger is known around the League as one of the most creative offensive coaches in the NBA. During his tenure as head coach, Joerger reached the Western Conference playoffs three times with the Memphis Grizzlies. He coached three more seasons with the Sacramento Kings.
He has an overall career record of 245-247 (.498) and a 9-13 record (.409) in the playoffs.