Tumor recently removed from Nuggets' Nene malignant

The Brazilian magazine Epoca has reported, and the Denver Nuggets have confirmed, that the tumor recently removed from the right testicle of their power forward Nene was indeed malignant.

The team said the tumor was discovered early and tests showed
the cancer was isolated.

"The recovery rate is extremely high. In addition, the odds of
a recurrence are very small," the Nuggets said in a written

It said Nene was doing well but there was no timeline for him to
resume playing.

Nene underwent surgery on Jan. 14 to remove the tumor.

The Epoca article is based on a lengthy interview with the doctor who performed the procedure, Fernando Kim. Dr. Kim further explains that the cancerous tumor was caught early. There is no evidence that the cancer had spread, and the likelihood of recurrence, he says, is small after a successful procedure to remove the cancerous testicle.

Further, the doctor adds that the player is recovering extremely well both physically and mentally. The doctor does not speculate about when Nene might be able to return, although normal recovery from this procedure is said to be two months.

The Brazilian article, by Andre Fontenelle, says the tumor was first detected when a routine league-mandated drug test, which reportedly showed the abnormal presence of a hormone that is normally found in pregnant women. In men, that hormone can be the marker of a tumor.

The Brazilian player's Web site had posted a statement last week
saying the tumor was benign, but that announcement was later

A statement posted on the Web site and distributed by Nene's Brazilian publicist said, "According to reports presented by doctors, the exams show that the tumor is benign."

Nene took an indefinite leave of absence on Jan. 11.

Asked if the team has reason to be optimistic last week, center Marcus Camby said, "We hope so, for him as a teammate, as a friend and as a brother.

"Basketball is secondary right now. Even without being cancerous, he's still going to be out a significant amount of time."

Dr. Kim, who performed the surgery at Denver Health Medical Center, said earlier that a "right testicular mass was found incidentally and it was managed surgically."

Nene had said the tumor was found at an early stage.

"I want to thank my fans, my teammates, the Nuggets organization and everyone that's been supporting me," he said in a statement released earlier last week. "My victory will represent their victory as well."

Nene is averaging 6.4 points and 6.4 rebounds. He missed 22 games earlier this season after undergoing left thumb surgery. He was out for all but one game of the 2005-06 season after tearing a knee ligament, and he was sidelined for 27 games the season before with a variety of ailments.

Information from Henry Abbott of TrueHoop and The Associated Press was used in this report