Flip Saunders has been hospitalized following a complication during cancer treatment and has since stepped aside indefinitely with his leadership role with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Saunders was diagnosed over the summer with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and has since completed chemotherapy treatments, according to the Associated Press. The 60-year-old has suffered from complications from those chemotherapy treatments, which led to Saunders’ indefinite leave of absence from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Flip Saunders hospitalized during cancer treatment has been a bit of a mystery since Timberwolves chief executive officer Rob Moor has explained that Flip and his family need and have requested privacy during this time. Moor refused to speak in specifics about Flip Saunders’ cancer treatment or its complications during a news conference on Friday.
In the meantime, assistant Sam Mitchell will step in as interim coach while Flip Saunders is absent with the Minnesota Timberwolves. General manager Milt Newton will also have more responsibilities with the team, according to ESPN. Moor said the two men were “handpicked” by Saunders and the team has “complete confidence” in their abilities to take over since Flip Saunders hospitalized during cancer treatment has led to a longer recovery time and absence from the team.
Moor did not want to place a definite timetable for Flip Saunders’ return to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“Our first priority is making sure Flip regains his strength and is back to 100 percent before he is back to work. And while there is no timetable for Flip’s return, we believe it will be measured in months, and not weeks. To attempt to place a timeline on things at this time would be unfair to the due process of recovery.”
Owner Glen Taylor does not want team executives to speak to Saunders at this time because he will want to talk all things Minnesota Timberwolves, and perhaps not focus on his recovery.
A statement from the Timberwolves said, “We are fully committed to Flip’s long-term health and look forward to him returning to his Timberwolves responsibilities at the appropriate time.”
“I think Flip would be disappointed if we were not up to the task,” Milt Newton said. “We would go about our day-to-day jobs as if Flip was here, because we know what the vision is. We’re all in tune with that, and that’s our goal to take things forward with Flip’s presence or with his absence.”
Training camp for the Timberwolves starts September 28, and the season opener is October 28.
Flip Saunders and his family expressed their gratitude to doctors, the team, colleagues, friends, and fans for their support during this difficult time via a statement through the Timberwolves.
[Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images Sport]