Sager, 63, was diagnosed in April 2014 with acute myeloid leukemia. He begins a new round of chemo at Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which claims to have the largest leukemia treatment program in the world, according to the Houston Chronicle. He eagerly accepted the opportunity to attend the game, and was greeted before the game by former colleagues including Kevin Harlan and players including James Harden.
"My doctor told me don’t fall, don’t get hurt, stay away from people who are sick, and we’ll see you tomorrow,” Sager told the Chronicle.
In November, Sager's disease was thought to be in remission; in March, his son announced his father's leukemia was back. Attempts to send it back into remission were ineffective.
Sager told the Chronicle the plan is for him to spend five days in chemotherapy with remission again the goal. Should the treatment succeed, Sager will receive a second bone marrow transplant from one of his family members and spend around 100 days in Houston afterward.
“It’s nice that so many people care, and it’s been very therapeutic and supportive,” Sager said. “And it’s been great that we’ve had so many games on TV, not only on TNT but ABC and ESPN. There’s a lot of long hours where you can’t do anything but lie and bed and get IVs, so the basketball has been very therapeutic.”
“Odds are for a whole group. It’s not for me individually. I’ve defied odds before,” he added. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in these doctors, I have all the faith in the world in M.D. Anderson, and that’s why I’m here, and I expect to get through this.”
Sager is beloved in the basketball world for his sideline reporting and expansive, often vivid wardrobe choices. Get well soon, Craig.
- Jeremy Woo