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04/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

George Karl To Take Medical Leave: Nuggets Coach To Miss Games Because Of Serious Illness (VIDEO)

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Update: An emotional George Karl addressed the press Thursday evening accompanied by his doctor and a group of players. The 58-year-old veteran coach fought back tears describing his goals for the remainder of the season as he battles squamous cell cancer in his throat and neck.

Karl said he plans to continue coaching the team over the next few weeks as he begins treatment, but said he will miss games as the radiation treatments intensify over the last 2-3 weeks of the 6-week course.

"There are some tough stories about the last couple of weeks being very difficult," Karl said.

The coach said he would miss road games on February 25 at Golden State and March 10 at Minnesota because they conflicted with his treatment schedule.

Karl's doctor said it was imperative that the coach "[not] skip more than a day or two" of scheduled radiation.

Assistant Adrian Dantley will assume head coaching responsibilities in Karl's absence.

The Nuggets are currently two games ahead of Utah for second place in a tough Western Conference, and the coach remained optimistic that the team would be competing for a championship later this year.

"My goal is to kick this cancer's butt, and get back and win a championship."

Watch The Press Conference:

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Update: ESPN's Ric Bucher confirms that Karl is indeed "in a fight for his life" with cancer:

Karl, who had been cancer-free since prostate surgery in July 2005, discovered a worrisome lump on his neck about six weeks ago. A biopsy determined that it was "very treatable and curable" form of throat cancer, Karl said, but it will still require an intense program of radiation and chemotherapy that will probably force him to miss some regular-season games.

"Cancer is a vicious opponent," he said. "Even the ones that are treatable, you never get a 100-percent guaranteed contract."

Bucher reports that Karl and Nuggets owner Stan Kroenke "hashed out a deal" directly last weekend in full knowledge that Karl would miss much of this season.

NBA.com reports that the veteran coach hopes to miss just 9 games in March and April. He plans to coach the next three weeks while receiving treatment.

Karl told ESPN that he hopes to return to the bench for the playoffs.

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Denver Nuggets Head Coach George Karl will miss several games because of a medical issue. The Nuggets have scheduled a press conference for 7:00 MST, at which time multiple news agencies are reporting that Karl will announce he will miss several games due to an illness.

Karl, 58, was treated for prostate cancer in 2005. His son, basketball player Coby Karl was treated for thyroid cancer in 2007.

Karl recently signed a one-year contract extension to coach the Nuggets through the 2010-2011 season. He coached of the Western Conference All-Stars on Sunday, having guided the Nuggets to the Western Conference's second best record in the 2009-2010 season. He joined the Nuggets midway through the 2004-2005 season.