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Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

Dean Smith UNC

1988: Head coach Dean Smith, center, sits with assistant coaches Bill Guthridge, left, and Phil Ford, right, on the bench during a North Carolina Tar Heels game. Mandatory Credit: Allen Dean Steele /Allsport

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.