Saturday, July 30, 2011

On This Day, July 30th: NBA Lockout Day 30 & Donald Royal Battles Cancer


Former Orlando Sentinel writer great Tim Povtak did a great piece on former Magic man Donald Royal who was dealing with a cancerous tumor in his colon and was undergoing chemotherapy. Always a great contributor off the bench, Royal was around during this franchise's golden age. Donald was hoping to make it back into the NBA since he was only 32 at this time, but that never happened. No one has really followed up on Royal in over a decade. Hope all is well.

Donald Royal has tackled his battle with cancer the same way he approaches an NBA opponent.

``I've tried to go out there with the idea, I'm going to kick its [butt], just like you go into a game,'' Royal said from his Orlando home Wednesday. ``I will play [in the NBA] again. It just won't be as early as everyone else.''

Royal, 32, is in the midst of a draining, six-month chemotherapy cycle that he hopes will eliminate any remaining traces of cancer in his body.

Royal, who played for the Orlando Magic from 1992-96 and briefly returned to their roster last season, had a cancerous tumor removed from his colon June 24. Doctors said they believe they caught the cancer before it spread, but there are no guarantees. He also had a lymph node removed.

``They can't tell you for sure that it's all gone. That's why the chemotherapy,'' he said. ``I hope it all works. The toughest part is explaining it to my 4-year-old daughter.''

Royal has undergone the first of five, weeklong chemotherapy sessions. The next one is scheduled for Aug. 10-15. The final week will be in mid-December. Between the surgery he had at Sand Lake Hospital and his first chemotherapy session, he lost 20 pounds. The resulting vomiting, nausea and fatigue took their tolls.

``I feel fine now, I'm doing things normally, and I'm just trying to gain some weight back,'' he said. ``When I first learned about this, it really floored me, but I understand it better now.''

Doctors told Royal the tumor had been growing in his colon for two years, although the mandatory, twice-a-year physicals he took in the NBA never detected it.
The Magic traded Royal to Golden State at the start of the 1996-97 season. He spent the second half of last season with the Charlotte Hornets. He is a free agent this summer.

``I'm not even thinking about where I might be playing next because it won't be until after the first of the year,'' Royal said. ``I'm concentrating on getting healthy right now. But I will play again.''

In current NBA Lockout news, here's a clip from the L.A. Times featuring Lakers guard Derek Fisher discussing the player-owners CBA meeting that will occur this Monday August 1st. 

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