Dream coach Cooper has successful surgery for tongue cancer

Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper underwent successful surgery for tongue cancer on Thursday, according to team officials.

Michael Cooper, who has been part of seven championships at the pro level (five with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, two WNBA titles as a coach) is slated to return to the Atlanta Dream's coaching sidelines soon.

Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA -- Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper underwent successful surgery for tongue cancer on Thursday, according to team officials.

The longtime NBA veteran -- a five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980s and one-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1987) -- took over the Atlanta reins before the season and had the Dream sporting the best record in the East Conference, prior to taking medical leave to combat tongue cancer.

According to officials, the doctors at Atlanta's Winship Cancer Institute of Emory Hospital expect Cooper -- a two-time WNBA championship coach (2001 and '02 with the Los Angeles Sparks -- to return to coaching the Dream soon.