Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Maurice Lucas Continues To Battle
It’s easy to lose perspective during the course of an NBA season. Between practices, shoot arounds, film sessions, games, travel, appearances and the other ancillary responsibilities that overtake the lives of players and staff for the better part of seven months, it sometimes feels like basketball is the only thing that matters.
When the word gets out that Maurice Lucas, a man who personifies toughness, continues to battle bladder cancer, the game that seems so important seems a little less so.
Everyone in the Trail Blazers feels Luke’s absence, but for centers Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden, it is especially troubling, as Lucas works closely with both as the team’s designated “big man” coach.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Przybilla said. “He’s a crucial part of this team. All of our thoughts and prayers are with him. To me he’s not only been a coach and a mentor, but a great friend. It’s hard to hear he’s going through some tough times right now. He’s a great person all around and to have him not here, we’re definitely missing something. Every day you walk in the locker room or the practice court and you definitely feel his presence not being there.”
“He’s a rock here,” Oden added. “He’s the guy we all look up to because he’s the one guy on this team that has a ring in the locker room. He’s got a lot of love from everybody here in the city. We’re all praying for him, hoping he gets better.”
The news that Lucas has been re-hospitalized comes just days after the announcement that team owner Paul Allen is undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“Mr. Allen and Coach Luke are going through this,” McMillan said. “Those are close friends, but you still have basketball to play. It puts everything in perspective. There are sports and there is a game, but we have some close friends who are trying to fight some things. You have to handle it all. It’s life.”
(Click here for a recent interview with Coach Lucas)