- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 16, 2010

DENVER (AP) - Everybody seems to be talking about where Denver Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony will end up next season.

What about coach George Karl?

He’s in the last year of his contract and is working with a new front office. More importantly, he’s still recovering from throat and neck cancer that sidelined him at the end of last season.

“At the end of the year, if my health is more important, then I’ll walk away from the game of basketball,” Karl said. “I’m not saying that’s what I want. But I’m not saying that I haven’t thought about that more than any time in my life.

“So, I don’t think (what the front office decides) matters a lot to me, because as much as they’re evaluating me and what they want to do with me, I’m probably evaluating what I want to do with me.”

A two-time cancer survivor, Karl said he wouldn’t hesitate to retire from coaching if he has any setbacks or needs to reduce the stress in his life to stay cancer-free.

Karl said before the Nuggets’ game against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night that he feels better than he has in 10 years but still has “some hoops I’ve got to jump through,” such as doctor’s visits and PET scans, with his next one coming after Thanksgiving.

“I feel great. I feel as good as I’ve felt in 10 years. My voice, I can’t match (Knicks commentator) Mike Breen on the radio or TV but I could probably sing the National Anthem better than him,” Karl said.

Karl is in his 23rd NBA season and is closing in 1,000 wins, a feat accomplished by only six other coaches. He has said he doesn’t think he’ll be 100 percent until next spring or summer but felt it was important to return to coaching this fall so he get back into his normal routine even though he has to leave the yelling and a lot of instruction to his assistants.

“I mean, would I bet on me not coaching? I wouldn’t bet on me not coaching. I think I’m going to be coaching,” Karl said. “But there’s still a lot of steps. There’s some hurdles I’ve got to jump through, there’s some hoops I’ve got to jump through.

“I’m fired up. I think I’ve got great people behind me. I’ve got great support, the spirit of karma of what’s going on in my life has been a blessing. So, I’m feeling pretty good about my chances. But in the same sense, there is some things about stress and getting your immune system working the right way that has been brought to my attention.”

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