Northern plays in post season, Meyer sets surgery Print
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009 21:55
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 SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -NCAA men's basketball wins leader Don Meyer coached Northern State University to a postseason bid and soon after will undergo treatment on a leg amputated after a car crash that also revealed a slow-growing cancer.
So continues the roller coaster season that included the near-fatal accident and recovery, Meyer's return to coaching in a wheelchair, breaking Bobby Knight's 902-win record, and then extending the season with a young team plagued by injuries.
Assistant coach Randy Baruth directed practices but spoke daily with Meyer (910-309) until his return to courtside two months after the Sept. 5 accident.
``We've had arrested development for all of us not being able to work as hard as we should have. And all of the emotional drainage, I guess you'd call it. We're probably very fortunate to be where we are, to tell you the truth,'' Meyer said in a telephone interview.
, Minn. on Saturday.
Meyer, 64, was critically injured when his compact car collided with a loaded grain truck west of Aberdeen. He was alone in the first of several vehicles taking the team to an annual weekend retreat when he either fell asleep or was distracted.
Multiple operations followed at a Sioux Falls hospital to remove Meyer's spleen, repair cracked ribs and deal with a mangled left leg that later was amputated below the knee.
Meyer called the accident a blessing because doctors also found a carcinoid cancer in his liver and small intestines, the treatment for which was put off until his injuries and the amputation could heal.
Doctors have held off closing up the leg, but surgery now has been scheduled for April 2 that will also entail shaving off some of the bone to remove an infection, as well as some muscle reconstruction, said Meyer's wife, Carmen Meyer.
``He was very pleased with how it's coming along,'' she said of the plastic surgeon.
``That was very good news.''
The leg will be swollen but could be fitted with an artificial limb by summer, Carmen Meyer said.
``We're just hoping his hip and his upper leg will be strong enough to use a prosthesis. He had a severe crush injury to the left side of his body so he hasn't done any weight bearing on that left side,'' she said.
ancer and has an appointment with an oncologist in Aberdeen May 4 to determine how to proceed with treatment.
One possibility is a monthly hormone shot to control the symptoms, which have been minor if evident at all, Carmen Meyer said.
``So our prayer that it will just stop growing and go away,'' she said of the cancer.
When asked about his health, Meyer characteristically - and dryly - shifted the focus to his team.
``The biggest health problem is two of our guards are out for the season,'' he said of injured sophomores Jordan King and Derek Hoellein.
Meyer said the season has helped keep his focus off his physical challenges.
``I think the basketball has been good that way, because you don't think about the other stuff that much,'' he said.

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