Turner Sports reporter Craig Sager began a new round of chemotherapy at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer on Wednesday. He said Thursday that he will be unable to cover basketball at the Rio Olympics.
The procedure is intended for the colorful NBA sideline reporter to undergo a third bone marrow transplant in August in his fight against leukemia, initially diagnosed in 2014.
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Sager told the Houston Chronicle that he’d hope to delay the procedure until after the Olympics.
“My body isn’t getting stronger, so they want to do it while I’m strong enough. Third transplants are kind of rare, so hopefully we will get it done and I’ll be ready in time for [NBA] opening night,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “We’ve known since February we would have to have the third transplant. We tried to delay it until after the Olympics, but [the disease] is very aggressive, and there is a sense of urgency to do it now.”
Sager, 65, revealed that he had been diagnosed with leukemia in April 2014. He returned to the sideline during TNT’s NBA coverage in 2015 after receiving a bone marrow transplant from his son. But he revealed in an interview with HBO in April that his cancer was no longer in remission.
“Craig Sager has returned to MD Anderson to continue his fight against leukemia,” NBC said in a statement. “He is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant, which will prevent him from covering the Olympics in Rio. We wish him the best in his continued recovery.”
Sager is a 34-year Turner veteran and popular TNT sideline reporter; he’s known for wearing flashy suits and his engaging on-court interviews with players. In June, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at The 2016 ESPYS. He also joined ESPN’s coverage team for Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the first Finals assignment of his storied career.