Flip Saunders Won't Coach Timberwolves This Season Due to Hodgkin Lymphoma

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2015

FILE - In this June 25, 2015, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders addresses members of the media during an NBA basketball news conference in Minneapolis. Sam Mitchell will replace Saunders as coach of the Timberwolves in the interim while Saunders continues treatment for cancer, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves will reportedly be without head coach Flip Saunders for the 2015-16 season as he continues to battle Hodgkin lymphoma. 

According to the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda, a return from Saunders has been ruled out for the upcoming campaign. 

"Not this year," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Friday, per Zgoda. "I just think his illness, I mean, it’s serious. At this point, if he came back I still think he’d have a hard time to recover all his energy and all that because he has been in the hospital for a long time."

According to Zgoda, Saunders has been hospitalized since September after being diagnosed with cancer in June.

Sam Mitchell was named the team's interim head coach in early September. According to a September ESPN.com article, Saunders' doctors characterized his cancer as "very treatable and curable." 

On Friday, Taylor characterized it as "an unbelievable situation we hadn’t anticipated going into this season," per Zgoda. 

In addition to Mitchell taking over head-coaching duties, Zgoda reported general manager Milt Newton has assumed extra responsibilities, since Saunders also serves as the franchise's president of basketball operations.

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