Atlanta Dream expects Michael Cooper to make complete recovery from tongue cancer

Former Laker Michael Cooper had a procedure on Thursday to treat an early detection of tongue cancer and doctors expect a complete recovery, according to the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

Cooper, who helped the Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships, took a leave of absence this week from his head-coaching position with the Dream. Initially, the Dream estimated Cooper would recover in two weeks, while assistant Karleen Thompson overtook coaching duties. On Friday, the Dream said in a statement that Cooper will “be back coaching soon,” but did not provide any specifics.

Cooper has guided Atlanta to an Eastern Conference best 15-6 record in his first season. He also coached the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA championships (2001, 2002). Cooper left his second stint with the Sparks to coach the USC’s women’s basketball team. But he resigned in March after finishing 11-20, his first losing record in four seasons.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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