Sixers assistant coach Dave Joerger is stepping away from the team to undergo cancer treatments.
Joerger, 47, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski he has a Stage 1 form of "head and neck" cancer, which was diagnosed after he noticed a lump in his throat that did not go away.
"We have caught it early," Joerger told ESPN. "I'm very lucky. I've got over a 90 percent 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."
Joerger released an official statement through the Sixers, thanking the organization for its "unwavering support":
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers and managing partner Josh Harris also released statements. "The same positivity, enthusiasm and grit that have made him a successful coach will also carry him through his fight against cancer," Rivers said.
After six seasons as an NBA head coach with the Grizzlies and Kings, Joerger joined Rivers' staff ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. Rivers has communicated with him often during games and praised his work as an offensive tactician. Joerger liked the move to an assistant role, too.
"I hadn’t been able to work with Doc before," he said after running a practice last season in March when Rivers had an illness, "but I have certainly coached against him and have a relationship with him. It’s been terrific and relieving. It’s definitely different for me, making suggestions (and not) decisions. I’ve enjoyed it greatly and enjoyed our guys."
Danny Green tweeted Joerger is "one of the greatest people I've come across."
According to ESPN, Joerger told Sixers players, assistant coaches and staff of his cancer following the team's game Saturday night in Indiana. He told Wojnarowski he's undergone treatments over the last two weeks but needs to stay back in Philadelphia with the Sixers on a season-long six-game road trip.