Sixers Players Offer Love, Support For Assistant Dave Joerger

The 76ers reacted to the news of assistant coach Dave Joerger‘s cancer as expected — with sympathy and support.Dave Joerger

“It’s sad, it hurts, but his spirit is extremely high,” guard Tyrese Maxey said, via Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “So when someone is going through something, but their spirit is high, it makes you believe in them and trust in them, and really have faith in them.”

Joerger revealed that he needs to undergo treatment for a form of head and neck cancer. He will need to step away from the team as a result. Following Saturday’s loss to the Pacers, Joerger informed the team.

“It was tough. I dropped my head immediately when I heard it, but as soon as he started talking and telling us that he’ll be fine,” Maxey said. “He’s OK, his spirit is extremely high, that made me happy. I just gave him a big hug and told him I’m praying for him and I love him.”

Joerger, 47, is the former head coach of the Grizzlies and Kings. He told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the cure rate for his type of cancer is high, and indicated he is approaching the upcoming chemo and radiation treatments with strength.

“We know he’s somebody who’s a fighter and somebody who’s going to do everything he can to push through and come out on top of it,” forward Tobias Harris said. “For us, we’re definitely gonna miss him, (and) keep his family and him in all our prayers and just encourage him to stay positive and push through.”

Sixers center Andre Drummond was equally supportive.

“Dave is an upbeat guy, so seeing him every day and seeing how he is … it was hard to hear,” Drummond said. “He’s gonna be fine. He’s gonna come back better than ever. From what he said, he has a very high chance of beating this, so sure he’ll be fine. He’s tough.”

Joerger said he has Stage 1 cancer.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers released a statement on Joerger after the news became public, per Wojnarowski.

“Dave is not only one of the most talented and respected coaches in the NBA, but he’s a great friend, colleague, husband and father,” Rivers said in the statement. “The same positivity, enthusiasm and grit that have made him a successful coach will also carry him through his fight against cancer.”

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