Nuggets wish speedy recovery to Michael Cooper

Former Denver assistant diagnosed with treatable tongue cancer

Though Michael Cooper’s history as a coach in Denver was brief, he was still part of the Nuggets’ family.

Cooper, who was recently diagnosed with tongue cancer, joined the Nuggets as an assistant under Jeff Bzdelik before the 2004-05 season. He took over as interim coach on Dec. 28, 2004, but returned to his role as an assistant when Denver hired George Karl one month later.

After winning five NBA titles as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, Cooper has enjoyed a successful coaching career in the WNBA, the NBA Development League and college basketball.

Prior to joining the Nuggets, he won two titles with the Los Angeles Sparks from 2000-04. He added a D-League championship with the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in 2006. Cooper also posted three winning seasons as coach of the women’s basketball team at USC from 2009-13.

Cooper, 58, has taken a leave of absence as coach of the Atlanta Dream, which currently leads the Eastern Conference. Because his cancer was detected at an early state, he is expected to make a full recovery following surgery this week.

The Nuggets organization wishes him a healthy and speedy return to the bench.