Ernie Johnson: Craig Sager’s spirit ‘has not changed one iota’
Ernie Johnson is happy to see his friend and colleague Craig Sager continue to fight cancer, he told SI Now's Maggie Gray.
In 2003, Johnson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and continued to work through June 2006 before starting treatment. He returned to work on Oct. 31, 2006 and also started chemotherapy treatment. Last week, Sager revealed that his cancer was no longer in remission in an interview with HBO's Real Sports.
“Craig through this whole thing has been remarkably upbeat,” Johnson said. “HBO's Bernie Golberg did the story on him and Bernie came over to the house the other day to talk abut it. He knows I've been through my own cancer episode. He knows that Craig and I have been at Turner together for a long, long time. I told him the thing that's amazing is that you'd stop by the hospital during the course of his treatment to try and lift him up and you;d walk away more inspired yourself. He had that positive vibe going. He was always Craig. He was always Sags every time that you'd see him. ”
Sager later added that he is confident he'll live longer than the 3-6 month diagnosis doctors gave him.
“Even during this past baseball season when we'd do a couple of Astros games and he was in treatment at MD Anderson in Houston. He came to the ballpark and frankly he looked a little beat up...Understandably, he'd been through some unbelievable treatments but his spirit hadn't changed one iota. It was Sags that you saw even though he had lost weight and he had looked like he had been through it a little bit. No doubt in my mind he's going to battle like crazy like he has been.”
Sager, 64, was first diagnosed with leukemia in April 2014, and the disease returned in March 2015, forcing him to take the rest of the season off. After a bone marrow transplant in July, Sager returned to TNT for the first game of the 2015–16 season. He is slated to return to the sidelines for Wizards–Warriors on Tuesday and Bulls–Rockets on Thursday.