The best wishes of the sporting world have been with Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders as he battles cancer, which now is expected to keep him off the sidelines for the upcoming season.
In an interview with the Star Tribune on Friday, Wolves owner Glen Taylor said the coach and president of basketball operations won't return this season, following "complications" in his treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Not this year," Taylor said, when asked if Saunders would return to his job. "I just think his illness, I mean, it's serious. At this point, if he came back I still think he'd have a hard time to recover all his energy and all that because he has been in hospital for a long time."
Taylor's interview came just five days before the Wolves open their regular season at the LA Lakers.
After his initial diagnosis in June, the Wolves gave the indication that Saunders would not miss much time from work, with a team statement quoting doctors as saying his condition was very treatable and curable.
But then in September Saunders had complications with his treatment, leading to his hospitalization and Sam Mitchell being named the interim head coach.
CBS Sports reports that should an opportunity arise, Saunders has given Mitchell the green light to make changes to the roster he set about transforming last year when he traded Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers, in a deal that saw No. 1 draft pick and "future franchise player" Andrew Wiggins come the other way.