The second-year head coach missed the Storm’s first nine games after his cancer diagnosis.
Dan Hughes is coming back. As his team, the Seattle Storm, announced Wednesday, the second-year head coach has officially resumed full coaching responsibilities following a successful cancer surgery.
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Hughes will take to the sidelines for the first time this season on Friday, when the Storm host the Los Angeles Sparks at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Wash. He missed Seattle’s preseason and its first nine regular season games after undergoing surgery to remove a carcinoid tumor in his digestive tract back in May. Hughes announced his cancer diagnosis a month earlier.
“I am thankful for the entire Swedish medical team’s exceptional care throughout this process,” Hughes said in a statement from the Storm.
Assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg served as the interim head coach for the Storm in Hughes’ absence. Kloppenburg led Seattle to a 5-4 record during that time, including wins against Phoenix and Minnesota at home.
“I am also grateful to Gary Kloppenburg and the Storm coaching staff who guided our team through a grueling stretch of the schedule with finesse,” Hughes continued in a statement. “Our team has demonstrated incredible resilience and we will continue to fight each and every game.”
According to the Seattle Times, while Hughes has been a part of the team’s practices in his absence, Seattle’s team physician did not let him travel with the squad during their first seven away games.
Hughes’ return to the sidelines comes as the Storm embark on a long stretch of home games. After Friday’s game in Everett, the team will play their next seven home contests at Seattle’s Alaska Airlines Arena starting on Sunday against Indiana. The only two away games for the Storm are June 25 at Las Vegas and July 17 at Minnesota.
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