Hughes back with Storm after cancer diagnosis

NEW YORK -- Seattle Storm coach Dan Hughes is back as the head coach of the team after stepping away for the first month of the season because of cancer.

Hughes' first game will be Friday against Los Angeles. Seattle plays eight of its next nine games at home.

The 64-year-old veteran coach shared his cancer diagnosis before the season began and underwent successful surgery to remove a carcinoid tumor in his digestive tract on May 14. The procedure was performed by Dr. Amir Bastawrous at the Swedish First Hill Campus in Seattle.

"I am thankful for the entire Swedish medical team's exceptional care throughout this process,'' Hughes said. "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. Our team has demonstrated incredible resilience and we will continue to fight each and every game."

The Storm went 5-4 in his absence with assistant Kloppenburg acting as the head coach.

"It's going to be great to have Dan back,'' Kloppenburg told the AP after the Storm lost in Connecticut on Sunday. "He's been watching games and texting me a lot.''

Seattle was missing reigning MVP Breanna Stewart, who is out for the season after rupturing an Achilles tendon while playing for the Russian club Dynamo Kursk in the EuroLeague Women championship game in Hungary. The Storm also have been playing without Sue Bird, who underwent knee surgery last month and is out indefinitely.