Flip Saunders has suffered complications with his cancer treatment and will not be healthy in time to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves this season.
Wolves owner Glen Taylor gave the Star Tribune an update on the head coach and president of basketball operations, who remains hospitalized since September after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Asked when Saunders would be able to return to his job, Taylor had this to say.
"Not this year. 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 the hospital for a long time."
Though the effects of his continued absence to the franchise won't be fully known yet, Taylor held enough talks with Saunders over the summer about the team's future plans that a "blueprint" was in place for general manager Milt Newton and interim coach Sam Mitchell.
"We haven't put anything on hold," Taylor said. "Milt's handling it just the way I'd expect him to. He tells me what he thinks, and we talk about things, just the same as I did with Flip. Milt's just stepped in. Sam has to be his own coach. He won't do things exactly as Flip does, and I wouldn't expect him to."