North Carolina said Roy Williams’ surgically removed kidney tumor was not cancerous, though he will have a biopsy to ensure a second kidney tumor is also benign.
In a news release Tuesday afternoon, the school said tests have determined the tumor removed last week from Williams’ right kidney was an oncocytoma, which is a benign growth often indistinguishable from kidney cancer on X-rays that doesn’t spread like a cancerous tumor would.
Williams also has a tumor on his left kidney, but according to the school, doctors say there is “a good chance” that growth is the same as the one removed Sept. 19. Doctors plan to biopsy that tumor next week and won’t have to perform a second surgery if the tumor is also an oncocytoma.
Dr. Eric Wallen, a UNC professor of urology who led the surgical team during 3 1/2-hour procedure, said last week that Williams should be back in plenty of time for the start of preseason practice on Oct. 13.
“We are pleased with how well Coach Williams is doing,” Wallen said Tuesday in a statement. “If everything continues to progress as expected, he should be back to his normal activities soon.
In a statement, Williams thanked the medical staff who treated him and said he was “overwhelmed” by the messages of support he had received since the surgery.
“I’ve just been blown away by the calls, cards, prayers and well-wishes from people all around the world in and out of the basketball community,” Williams said. “My family and I are thankful to all that have expressed your concerns.”
Williams, 62, has had minor health issues in recent years, including occasional bouts with vertigo and back problems. The Hall of Fame coach had shoulder surgery three years ago to repair a torn labrum, which left him to coach several weeks with his left arm in a sling.
“There is still work to be done,” Williams said, “but we will continue to deal with that over the next few weeks and get through it with the help of first-rate medical care and the continued support of my family and our extended family and friends through Carolina Basketball.”