Coby Karl Looks Ahead

DENVER (AP) -Coby Karl went through dribbling and shooting drills on the far corner of the Denver Nuggets' practice court.

He put himself through quite a workout as some of the Nuggets players scrimmaged at the other end.

``It feels good to get a sweat going,'' the Boise State basketball player said Thursday. ``I'm tired, but it's a good thing. You know you're getting better.''

Karl, the son of Nuggets coach George Karl, underwent a seven-hour surgery on April 2 to remove cancerous lymph nodes. It was his second operation in 13 months.

But he's feeling better. He's slowly getting back into basketball shape and the 3-inch scar below his chin from where the doctors performed the operation is starting to fade.

``It's tough,'' Karl said of getting back his conditioning. ``The beginning is the hardest part.''

Karl was in town to visit his dad and take in a couple of Nuggets playoff games against the San Antonio Spurs. Then it's back to Boise State, where he'll graduate in May with a degree in mass communications.

After that, Karl's attention will be solely focused on basketball. He's hoping to be selected in the NBA draft in June.

``I hope they (NBA teams) like me,'' Karl said.

There's definitely one that does - his father.

``He's obviously a little biased,'' Coby Karl said with a laugh. ``Hopefully I can play well enough in Orlando (at the NBA pre-draft camp) to impress some other teams and hopefully start a buzz.''

Karl was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma, a form of treatable cancer, in January 2006 and had his thyroid removed three months later. He also underwent chemotherapy to kill off any remaining cells, but the cancer returned.

Karl will have blood work done in a month to see how he's recovering. However, he isn't living in fear of the cancer.

``The word is kind of scary,'' Karl said. ``It's cancer and it's a big deal. But what my doctors have told me about it, it's very treatable. I've just got to keep going.''

When Karl went in for surgery in April, his father left the Nuggets following a game in Seattle so he could be with his son.

George Karl, who was treated for prostate cancer in 2005, said at the time of his son's surgery that it was hard to wait for him to come out of the long operation.

``When it goes longer and longer, you always think the worst, and start worrying about things like being under anesthesia that long and all the nightmares you have about surgeries,'' George Karl said.

Now, Coby Karl is almost back to his old self. His touch was returning Thursday as he swished one shot after another. Karl finished third on Boise State's career scoring list with 1,698 points. He's also the school's career leader in games played, 3-pointers made and attempted.

``I'm not in the shape I have been in the past,'' Karl said. ``But I'm feeling good and that's big.''

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