Iowa Men's Basketball

The fight for Patrick McCaffery to get back on the court for Iowa basketball continues

Fran McCaffery: 'It's not life threatening, it's just overall health'

Iowa Hawkeyes forward Patrick McCaffery (22) walks back to the bench after a timeout during the second half of a men's b
Iowa Hawkeyes forward Patrick McCaffery (22) walks back to the bench after a timeout during the second half of a men’s basketball game against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Friday, November 15, 2019. (Cliff Jette/Freelance)

IOWA CITY — The update on Patrick McCaffery is there really is no update. Things are status quo.

The freshman forward continues to work through “residual” health issues from the thyroid cancer he suffered when he was 14. McCaffery played in the first two Iowa men’s basketball games this season, but his father, head coach Fran McCaffery, announced in mid-November his son would be out of action for the near future.

It’s late January, and Patrick McCaffery still isn’t back.

“He had some stuff done yesterday, we’ve got some stuff scheduled coming up,” Fran McCaffery said Friday, on a teleconference with local reporters. “We’re really trying to analyze where his body is. But I think he’s doing better. It’s not life threatening, it’s just overall health and the ability to figure out how to compete and consistently perform at this level without any health risks.”

Patrick McCaffery had his thyroid removed and declared cancer free after treatment. He had an exquisite prep career at Iowa City West, finishing as the storied program’s all-time leading scorer, and was a 4-star recruit.

But he always has had a difficult time adding weight and muscle to his 6-foot-9 frame because of his lack of a thyroid and the combination of medicine he must take to overcome that and remain cancer free. It’s a very difficult balance that has become even more difficult as he has become a Division I college athlete.

“We’ve got a lot of professionals looking at it, analyzing it and trying to help him through it,” Fran McCaffery said. “It’s kind of an ongoing process in the sense that we’re not going to one place, one doctor. We are having a lot of different people with different areas of expertise analyze his situation. Because his situation is unique.

“We are very lucky to have incredibly talented people here, not only our staff but in the hospital. We are exhausting all of those opportunities and also planning on taking him up to the Mayo Clinic. Some folks up there are going to look at him as well.”

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